Skin Cancer Project: Melanoma

Brianna Marquinez; 4/8/16

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. This form of cancer develops when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. It is a form of skin cancer, so obviously it affects the skin. If recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable.
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Symptoms of Melanoma

The common symptom is a new or unusual growth or mole on your body. Several other symptoms can include darkening of skin, blackening of skin, mole changes, or irregular borders of moles.

Possible Causes of Melanoma

Most skin cancers are caused by too much sun exposure. UV-A rays and UV-B rays both cause Melanoma, due to them being ultraviolet rays from the sun. Another major cause is tanning. It damages your skin cells and increases risk of getting Melanoma. Familial malignant Melanoma is when a first or second family member develops the skin cancer on his/her own. It puts you at a higher risk for Melanoma.

Preventing Melanoma

  • Avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Avoid tanning beds

Treating Melanoma

  1. Surgically remove the cancer/tumor and some of the tissue around it. Sometimes, removal of the lymph nodes is necessary.
  2. Clinical trials of new ways to cure the cancer.

Diagnosis of Melanoma

Melanoma can sometimes be detected by simply looking at your skin, but the only way to accurately diagnose Melanoma is with a biopsy. This can determine what the growth is and if it is a form of skin cancer. With this being done, the unusual growth or area of skin is removed.

What types of people are likely to get Melanoma?

Between 40 and 50 percent of people that live to be 65 develop a skin cancer in their lifetime. It can be various types, but it does occur often. Melanoma is the most common skin cancer in the age group 25-29 years of age.

What new research did I learn?

Majority of the information in this presentation is new to me. I have never fully understood any form of cancer, and now I have had the opportunity to read and learn about skin cancer. It never occurred to me that skin cancers are so common and that most people have it. I am glad I was able to do this project and learn about Melanoma so I could better understand skin cancer as a whole.