World Melanoma Day

May 23 is World Melanoma Day and at ec-europe we would like to take this opportunity to talk about this type of cancer.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for producing the pigment (melanin) that gives color to the skin. The cause of this type of cancer is not exactly known but exposure to UV rays greatly increases the risk.

The first symptoms of melanoma are a change in a pre-existing mole or the appearance of a new pigmented “patch” of unusual appearance. As most melanoma cells continue to produce melanin, melanoma-like tumors are usually brown or black. However, some melanomas do not produce melanin and may be pink, brown or even white.

Melanoma originates when melanocytes begin to grow uncontrollably. The growth of these cancer cells is different from the growth of normal cells. Instead of dying, the cancer cells continue to grow and form new abnormal cells, which can also invade or spread to other tissues.

Some risk factors that may predispose a person to melanoma are: exposure to UV rays, having moles, to be fair-skinned, family and personal history of melanoma and to have a weakened immune system, among others.