Skin Conditions

Understanding the skin you're in!

The Integumentary System

The Integumentary System is an organ system that consists of the skin, hair, nails and endocrine glands. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and on average, it weighs about 10 pounds. The skin is a pretty important part of your body considering that it forms a barrier around you protecting you from chemicals, disease, UV light, and physical damage. The hair and nails extend in order to protect the skin from environmental damage. The endocrine glands produce sweat, oil, and wax to cool, protect and moisturize the skin's surface.

Melanoma (Skin Cancer)

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells trigger mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors form in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often represent moles, and some even develop from moles. They are usually black or brown in color, but they can be skin colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is mainly caused by intense, occasional UV exposure, especially for those already genetically predisposed to the disease. Melanoma kills an average of 9,940 people in the U.S. annually.

Identifying Melanoma

Signs and Symtoms

It the mole is asymmetrical, meaning that it looks different on each side, that is a sign that you might have melanoma. A benign mole usually has round, smooth edges, while a melanoma has jagged and uneven edges. Another warning sign is color; benign moles are usually a solid color, while melanomas can have a variety of colors mixed in with it. Benign moles also usually have a smaller diameter than malignant ones. Benign moles usually stay the same over time, look out for moles that change or evolve.


The first step to trying to treat this would be to surgically remove the tumor. This can be done in an outpatient/office setting if the tumor is thin enough (they did this to my mom). If the tumor is malignant and has spread, different treatments such as chemotherapy may be required.