Welcome to AM Jain College, where education meets excellence. We are thrilled to announce that admissions are now open for the upcoming academic year.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Although this type of cancer is relatively rare, accounting for 1% of all skin cancers, it can still be deadly if not detected early and treated at the right time. 

This Melanoma Awareness Month, we take a look at how early detection can save lives and explore a thorough guide on how to perform regular self-exams and when to see a dermatologist.

Risk Factors for Melanoma

Understanding the risk factors for any disease is crucial to preventing it. The risk of developing melanoma can be increased by various factors ranging from excess exposure to UV radiation to having fair skin and blond hair.

  • Excessive UV Exposure
    Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or excessive use of tanning beds are some factors that can put someone at risk for melanoma. This is why it is advised to always wear sunscreen when stepping out and to avoid going out during peak sunlight hours.

    Tanning beds emit artificial UV-A radiation, and a 75% increase in the risk of developing melanoma has been observed in those under 35 years with a history of sunbed use.

  • Fair Skin
    People with fair skin, light eyes, and red or blond hair are at higher risk of developing melanoma.
  • Family History

    1 in 10 people with the melanoma have a family history of the same. This could be due to shared genetic mutations, the presence of fair skin, or similar lifestyles that include a higher degree of UV exposure.

  • Moles

    Moles are pigmented non-cancerous or benign tumours found on the skin. They are not present at the time of birth. We develop them during adolescence and adulthood. Moles by themselves are not a cause for concern, but those with many moles or atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.

  • Weakened Immune System

    People with a weakened immune system due to certain diseases, such as autoimmune disorders or due to treatment and medication for other issues, are more likely to develop melanoma and other skin cancers.

Noticing the Early Signs of Melanoma

Early detection of melanoma improves treatment outcomes significantly. The ABCDE rule is a mnemonic listing the different early signs of melanoma. 

  • Asymmetry: Half of the mole or spot doesn’t match the other half.
  • Border Irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • Color Changes: The color is not uniform and may include shades of brown, black, blue, or red.
  • Diameter: Melanomas are generally larger than the size of a pencil eraser (6mm).
  • Evolution: Changes in size, shape, color, or elevation over time can indicate melanoma.

Step-by-Step Self-Examination Guide

Regular self-examinations are key to detecting anything suspicious. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform a thorough self-exam of your skin to detect melanoma early.

  • Step 1: Choose a well-lit room with a full-length mirror for your self-exam.
  • Step 2: Check for any new moles, any changes in size, shape, color, or any unusual growths.
  • Step 3: Make sure to check every part of your body during your exam.
  • Step 4: For areas that are out of reach and hard to see, use a hand mirror. These include the back, buttocks, and behind your ears.
  • Step 5: Take photos of any moles to compare for changes during future self-exams.

When to See a Dermatologist

Please consult a dermatologist immediately if you notice any of the following during your self-exam:

  • New moles
  • Changes in existing moles
  • Unusual growths

In addition to this, it is also advisable to schedule a yearly full-body skin exam with your dermatologist.

Start Today: Perform Your First Self-Exam

Remember that regular self-exams help catch melanoma at its early stages and ensure better treatment outcomes. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends performing self-exams every month and visiting a dermatologist once every year for a full-body skin check-up. Sparing a few minutes of your time every month is a very small price to pay for your life. So stay vigilant and perform monthly self-exams starting today!

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Corporate office:
Sunny Side, 3rd floor, East block, No 8/17
Shafee Mohammed Road, Chennai 600 006, India.

    Contact Details

    Corporate office:
    Sunny Side, 3rd floor, East block, No 8/17
    Shafee Mohammed Road, Chennai 600 006, India.

      © 2023-2024 John Chandy. All rights reserved / Crafted By Bunjy