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3 Signs of Possible Melanoma

There are many types of skin cancer.  Melanoma is the rarest of the skin cancers but it is also the most deadly form of skin cancer.  Melanoma can develop on any part of the body including the eye.  The most common locations of melanoma are the parts of the body which have been in the sun the most -- usually the face and arms, followed by the torso, back and legs.  Early detection and treatment is extremely important because Melanoma grows so quickly and is so aggressive.

Melanoma develops from cells called melanocytes.  These cells normally protect the skin from UV light by producing melanin.  Melanin darkens skin -- this is what we see as tanning.  Generally speaking, the paler your skin, the greater your risk for skin cancer including Melanoma.  Genetics play a role, as does sun exposure.  Getting sunburns before age 20 increases the risk that you will get skin cancer later in life.

Three signs of possible Melanoma that you should check for are:

1.  Any change in a mole's appearance. SucSuch changes are characterized by the acronym ABCD: asymmetrical shape; border irregularity; color variation; diameter larger than a pencil eraser.

2.  An irregularly shaped flat spot or raised bump anywhere on the skin. (The spot or bump may be brown, black, blue, tan, red, white, or multicolored).
3.  A black or brown spot on the color portion (iris) or the white of the eye, or a change of color of the iris, or pain or loss of vision.

See a doctor immediately if you have any sign of Melanoma or any question about your skin or eyes.