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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is melanoma?
When skin cancer originates in melanocytes it is called melanoma. Melanocytes are the cells that produce pigment in skin and are located in the basement membrane beneath the outer layer of skin.
What causes melanoma?
The cause of melanoma is damage to the DNA of melanocytes of the skin, usually caused by UV radiation, which results in the melanocytes replicating uncontrollably. They can grow to form tumors, which can invade nearby tissue and spread throughout the body by the …
Who gets melanoma?
Anyone can get melanoma. The risk increases with age, up to around 60-70 years. Although it can occur anywhere on the body, most commonly women get melanoma on their legs and men on the trunk of their body.
How is melanoma diagnosed?
A physical exam and laboratory tests on a skin biopsy are used to diagnose melanoma. Further tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, may be used to determine if the cancer has spread.
What types of melanoma are there?
There are four types of melanoma. They are: superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and nodular melanoma. To learn more about them all, read our general report on melanoma.
How common is melanoma?
Melanoma is a common type of cancer that has been increasing in frequency. However, melanoma is being detected at an earlier stage than previously.
How is melanoma treated?
Treatment options for melanoma depend on how far the cancer has progressed. If the cancer is caught in time, surgery may be all that is needed. However, if the cancer is only detected after it has spread, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other types of therapy may be …
Is melanoma preventable?
Melanoma is not completely preventable, but you can help reduce your risk of developing it by not tanning and avoiding sun exposure during peak UV times of 10am to 3pm. Seeking out shade and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and …
About this article
Author: Jonathan Meddings BMedLabSc (Hons)
First answered: 06 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Category: Skin cancer