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What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a very serious form of

skin cancer.
Melanoma is cancer of the
Melanocytes are located in the
Stratum Basale and produce melanin.

When skin is exposed to sunlight,
melanocytes produce more pigment, causing
the skin to tan.
 Sometimes, clusters of melanocytes form
noncancerous (benign) growths called
 Moles can be either flat or raised, round or
oval, and are smaller than a pencil eraser.
– Generally harmless, but can become cancerous

What is cancer?
Cancer is abnormal cell growth.
The mass of extra cells forms a

growth or tumor.
Tumors can be either benign or
Benign tumors are not cancer. They
often can be removed and, in most
cases, they do not come back.

Malignant Tumors
 Malignant tumors are cancerous.
 Cells can invade and destroy surrounding

 Cells can also break away from a malignant
tumor and enter the bloodstream.
 When cancer spreads (metastasizes) to
other parts of the body, the new tumor
has the same kind of abnormal cells and
the same name as the original tumor.

Types of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell


Squamous Cell


Although melanoma accounts for only

about 5% of all skin cancer cases, it
causes most skin cancer-related

Causes of Melanoma
 90% of all melanomas are linked to UV radiation.

(Sun exposure)
 8% are due to chromosomal abnormalities
 About 2% are unknown

Risk Factors
 Family history of melanoma
 Dysplastic nevi (noncancerous, but unusual-

looking moles)

 Previous melanoma
 Many nevi (ordinary moles): more than 50
 Severe, blistering sunburns
 Freckling tendency
 Fair skin, light eyes
 Excessive use of tanning beds

Signs and Symptoms
 Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or

it can develop slowly in or near an existing mole.
 In men, melanomas are often found between the
shoulders and hips, or the head and neck area.
 In women, melanoma often develops on the
lower legs as well as between the shoulders and
 It may also appear under the fingernails or
toenails or on the palms or soles.

Signs and Symptoms cont…
 A skin growth that increases in size and looks

pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, red, pink, or

 A mole that changes in color or in texture, becomes

irregular in shape, gets larger, or is bigger than a
pencil eraser.

 A spot or growth that continues to itch, hurt, crust,

scab, erode, or bleed.

Signs and Symptoms cont…
An open sore that lasts for more

than 4 weeks, or heals and then

A scaly or crusty bump that is horny,

dry, and rough and may produce a
pricking or tender sensation.

ABCD’s of Melanoma
Asymmetry--one half unlike the other
Border irregular--scalloped or poorly
circumscribed border.
Color varied from one area to another;
shades of tan and brown; black;
sometimes white, red or blue.
Diameter larger than 6mm as a rule
(diameter of a pencil eraser).



Early Melanoma is totally
curable. If melanomas of
this type are diagnosed
early  minor surgery is all
that is required.

Surface Melanoma- Most
common form of
melanoma. Spreads across
the surface of the skin.
Only when it invades
deeper does it become

Nodular Melanoma -The
most dangerous form of
melanoma, arising as a
small lump on pure
melanoma tissue in the
skin.  The risk of death
from this melanoma
increases rapidly as the
tumor buries deeper in
the skin.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage 0 — Also called melanoma in

situ, this tumor is found only on the
top layer of the epidermis.
Treatment is by surgery. Virtually all
of these cases can be cured.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage IA — The tumor is low-risk,

less than .75 mm in thickness, and/or
has not penetrated to the dermis.
The tumor has not spread to the
lymph nodes or distant organs.
Treatment is by surgery.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage IIA — The melanoma is

between 1.5 mm and 4 mm and/or has
penetrated the deep dermis.
Treatment is by surgery.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage IIB — The tumor is thicker
than 4 mm and/or invades the
subcutaneous fat. Additional tumors
called “satellites” may be found
within 2 centimeters of the original
tumor. Treatment is by surgery.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage III — Melanoma has spread

to the nearest lymph node.
Treatment is by surgery. Adjacent
lymph nodes often removed.

Stages of Melanoma - Treatment
Stage IV — The melanoma has

spread to other organs such as the
lung, liver, or brain, or to distant
areas of skin or lymph nodes.
Treatment may include surgery and

 One person each hour dies from melanoma.
 Melanoma afflicts nearly 45,000 Americans

 Affects all age groups and is one of the most
common cancers in young adults
 Melanoma diagnosed at an early stage can
usually be cured, but melanoma diagnosed at
a late stage is more likely to spread and
cause death.
 The Key is PREVENTION!

Ultraviolet Rays

Penetrate more deeply into the
skin's layers than UV-B rays. These
rays contribute to premature aging
and wrinkling of the skin, to sunburn,
and to skin cancer.

UV Radiation
UV-B -Stronger than UV-A, are

more intense in summer months, at
higher altitudes, and closer to the
Most common cause of sunburning,
can contribute to the premature
aging of the skin and can cause

UV Radiation

These rays, although the strongest
and most dangerous, are normally
filtered by the ozone layer and do
not reach the Earth.

How much UV reaches me?
Time of Day: UV is greatest

between 10 AM and 3 PM

How much UV reaches me?
Where You Live: UV is strongest at

the equator and gets weaker as you
move towards the Earth's poles.

Altitude: The air is cleaner and
thinner at higher altitudes;
therefore, UV exposure is greater in
the mountains than in the valleys.

Sun Facts
 Protecting your skin during the first 18 years of life can

reduce the risk of some types of skin cancer by up to 78%.
You can get a sunburn even on a cloudy day! Up to 80% of
the sun's rays can penetrate light clouds, mist, and fog.
Severe sunburn during the first 15 years of life can double
the risk of skin cancer.
You can get sunburned when you are in the water - Water
reflects an additional 5% of the sun's rays back on you.
Even dry surfaces reflect the sun's rays! Concrete reflects
10% to 12% of the sun's rays.

 1. UV reflection from sand, water, pavement, cement

and snow doubles the amount of ultraviolet exposure.
2. Wear a sunscreen with a minimun of 15 SPF, even on
cloudy days.
SPF- Sun Protection Factor
Number= amount of time you can spend in the sun
without getting burned.
Ex No sunscreen- Burn 10 minutes
Ex SPF- 5- Burn time 50 minutes

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