Cancerous Moles: Melanoma Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments | Health.com - Health.com
Jun 08, 2021 2 mins, 1 sec
Not all moles turn into melanoma, and not all melanomas develop from a mole.

Technically speaking, a cancerous mole is known as a melanoma, or a type of skin cancer that develops in the skin's pigment producing cells called melanocytes.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 106,110 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, and 7,180 people are likely to die from this aggressive form of skin cancer.

It's important to remember that not all moles are or will turn cancerous.

It's important to note that a cancerous mole can pop up on areas of the skin that were previously clear or free of moles, as well.

In addition to developing from a common mole, an atypical mole, or just a clear spot of skin, melanoma can also show up in the eye, digestive system, or in other areas of the body, per the NCI.

Remember: Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer.

That's because, as opposed to other common types of skin cancers, melanoma can invade nearby tissue and spread to other areas of the body (aka metastasize) like the lungs, liver, bone, or brain, the NCI says.

In fact, researchers don't know exactly what causes some moles to turn cancerous, while others stay benign, though there are a handful of risk factors that contribute.

"The UV light causes free radical damage to the skin cells and leads to a transformation into an atypical, unregulated cell.".

Other risk factors include: having fair skin, freckling, and light hair; a family or personal history of skin cancer or melanoma, and having a weakened immunes system, either from illness or medication?

If a skin biopsy determines melanoma, swift action is necessary, since the type of skin cancer can spread very quickly to other tissues and organs, per the AADA.

Wide excisions are used when thin melanoma (superficial layers of skin) is diagnosed by a skin biopsy, and involves removing the tumor and a small area of healthy skin around the area to ensure removal of all cancerous cells.

Prevention is key when it comes to protecting yourself against melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

"When detected early the atypical moles can be removed completely without any risk of progression into skin cancer." Keeping an eye on your skin in general is a good idea too-not just if you detect changes


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