A form of skin cancer, melanoma is one of the most serious skin conditions you can have. While it can be limited to your skin, it can also spread to the rest of your body. This means that treatment is necessary as soon as possible, to keep it from spreading too far.

What are the symptoms of melanoma?

If you have any moles or birthmarks that change in size, shape, or color, you may have melanoma. Generally, however, melanoma grows in clear skin – anywhere on your body. They are commonly found on the upper backs of men and the legs of women. It will look irregular and can change color and shape at any time, unlike normal moles.

What causes melanoma?

The most common cause of melanoma is spending too much time in the sunshine. Normal skin cells are transformed by the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and the tissue around the skin cells is attacked. It can run in families, so you may be genetically disadvantaged and need to pay closer attention to your skin.

How is melanoma treated?

Surgery is usually required to remove melanoma from the body. If you catch your melanoma early, then the surgery will be enough to remove it from your body – provided it has not spread to other parts of the body. If it has, you may need interferon or other cancer treatments to fight off the cancer cells.

How do you prevent melanoma?

The most effective way to prevent melanoma is to take proper precautions when spending time in the sun. This means using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and staying covered up as much as possible. Avoid tanning salons and stay in the shade as much as possible. You also want to check your skin for any changes on a regular basis.