What Is Melanoma Cancer?


Quick Answer

Melanoma cancer is a cancer that starts in the cells of the skin. It is also known as cutaneous melanoma or malignant melanoma.

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Full Answer

Melanoma cancer can occur on any part of the skin. In men, it is most likely to occur on the chest and back. Women are most likely to have it start on the legs. People who experience a lot of sun exposure, have several moles and a family history of the disease are most at risk of developing melanoma. A person with a weakened immune system is also at a greater risk. People with fairer skin are also more susceptible to developing melanoma.

The risk of developing melanoma can be decreased by covering up in the sun and avoiding sunburn. Tanning beds and tanning in the sun also needs to be eliminated. A sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher can help to lower the risk. The sunscreen should be applied every day. Newborn children ages six month and younger cannot have sunscreen applied to their skin, so they must be kept out of the sun until they are older. A professional skin examination needs to be conducted once a year as part of early screening for signs of melanoma.

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