Melanin is the pigment that gives skin, moles, eyes and hair their color. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes. When cancer originates in the melanocytes, it is called melanoma. Although melanomas most often develop as a form of skin cancer , they can develop elsewhere in the body. Melanoma isn’t as common as other types of skin cancer, but it can be more aggressive. If you have concerns about your risk of skin cancer or if you’ve spotted a suspicious lesion on your skin, you can find the answers you’re looking for at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Types of melanoma
There are three primary types of melanoma.
- Cutaneous melanoma: Skin cancer
- Mucosal melanoma: Cancer of the mucous membranes
- Ocular melanoma: Cancer of the eye
Causes of melanoma
According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, an estimated 90 percent of melanoma diagnoses are associated with unprotected UV exposure. Unprotected exposure to sunlight and indoor tanning beds inflicts damage to the DNA in the skin cells. This triggers other abnormal changes, which can sometimes lead to the development of cancer.
Other risk factors of melanoma include the following:
- Presence of multiple moles
- Family history of melanoma
- Fair skin that freckles and burns easily
- Suppressed immune system
- Certain inherited skin conditions
Treatments for melanoma
Treatment for melanoma is more likely to be successful when the cancer is detected early. Once melanoma begins to spread to other parts of the body, this disease becomes deadlier and treatments are less effective.
Surgery is often used, especially when melanoma is detected early. Sometimes, surgery is the only cancer treatment that a patient will need. Other patients may have some combination of the following treatments:
- Radiation therapy
Cancer Care Services at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center maintains our enduring commitment to healthcare excellence within our dedicated oncology unit. We understand that cancer patients and their families have unique needs, which is why we’re pleased to offer educational resources and amenities you won’t find elsewhere. Call (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral from a friendly member of our nursing staff.