By: Grayden Sauerwein

What is Melanoma

Paraphrased Definition: Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in a part of the skin that gives it the ability to tan. Usually as a mole.

My Personal Connection

Melanoma happens to run in my family, my Aunt Heidi has a scar on her arm from skin being removed and my grandpa, (I call him Papa) has had a patch removed from his back.

Who it Affects

Its target population is people with fair skin, freckles, blonde or red hair, and the incapability to tan. It is rare for people with darker skin to get it.


The cause for this disease is sunlight, or more specifically ultra-violet radiation. Severe sun burns also help the cause of any type of skin cancer. Moles can also be a cause, it depends if its benign (not infected) or malignant (infected).

Body System it Affects

The body system that it affects is the Integumentary system. Definition: The Integumentary system is the skin, replete with cells, sensory receptors, vessels, immune cells and antibodies, and layers of cells and keratin resisting environmental factors harmful to the body.

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There are a few ways to diagnose melanoma this is the 5 categories

Asymmetry: One part of the mole does not match the other part

Different Border: The edge is all faded into surrounding skin or jagged also serrated.

Different Color: The mole becomes different colors, such as black, pink, brown white, gray, tan, pink, blue, and red.

Diameter: The size changes or the mole gets bigger or smaller but it usually gets bigger.

Changed: The mole will have changed in a matter of weeks or months.

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There is 14% that you will die if you have melanoma. Most skin cancers can be treated and cured if found and caught early. There are 54,200 new cases each year and about 7,600 deaths.


There are a few ways to treat melanoma. The most common of them is surgery, Excisional Skin surgery is the name of the surgery used to get rid of melanoma. Therapy is another way to treat any type of skin cancer. The name of the therapy that used to treat Melanoma is biological therapy. That is when the body is given a drug that boosts the bodies natural defense or immune system. One drug is called Interferon it slows the growth of melanoma. However there is another drug called Interleukin-2 it helps destroy cancerous cells.



"National Cancer Institute." Melanoma Home Page -. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.

Panno, Joseph. "Skin Cancer." Cancer: The Role of Genes, Lifestyle, and Environment. New York, NY: Facts On File, 2005. 3+. Print.

"What You Need To Know About™ Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers." What You Need To Know About™ Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers -. National Cancer Institute, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.