In medical terms, a melanocyte is the normal skin cell responsible for the production of melanin. Everybody has melanin in in their skin, hair and parts of the eye since it provides color to these body parts. When you have concentrated melanin content, it shows up as moles in the skin.
Skin Cancer Relationship
So, how does [melanocyte] lead to skin cancer when it is a normal part of our skin?
Once melanocytes undergo mutations in one form or another, the individual develops Malignant Melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer, unfortunately.
Melanoma occurs in many parts of the skin. Nail beds, scalp, soles of feet as well as on the eyes, anus, rectum and vagina can be affected by this type of skin cancer.
The bad news is that cases of melanoma are on the rise, no thanks to the ignorance or apathy of people about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure for any length of time.
The good news is that modern medical science has made inroads into the successful treatment of melanoma. But you must catch it as early as possible to increase your chances of beating this abnormal melanocyte-rooted skin cancer.
What are the Risks for Melanoma?
But why think of treatment when you can lessen your risks for developing melanoma?
As with any other type of skin cancer, prevention in the form of sufficient sun protection is always better than the most advanced cure.
If you have the following risk factors for melanoma, take these extra measures for sun protection:
• Fair skin - You have less protection from the sun's rays because of lesser amount of melanin. Additional risk factors include freckles, light eyes, and blond hair.
• Sunburn History - Even the sunburn from your childhood, which seemed to go away with an ointment, will come back to haunt your skin in adulthood.
• Prolonged Ultraviolet Exposure - We are talking about ultraviolet rays ( UV rays ) from both the sun and from tanning lights. Don't even think of tanning yourself in these beds of death if you value your life.
• Location - If you live near the equator or in areas of high elevation, you must take extra precautions as the sun's rays are at their strongest in these places.
• Moles - Cindy Crawford may look beautiful with her facial mole but if you have one too many moles, have these nevi checked by your doctor.
• Family History - Sadly, this is one hereditary legacy that you must learn to bypass.
But keep in mind that even when you don't fall into any one of these categories that you are still at risk for melanoma.
Actually, everyone is susceptible to melanoma because we all have melanocytes. The only difference is that many will have higher risks than others.
What are the Preventions of Melanoma? But with risks or not, you must still adopt sun protection measures. Even the prospects of sunburn and sun stroke from unprotected sun exposure are not things to relish.
Your best melanoma prevention method is to always use sunscreen, don sunglasses and wear ultraviolet protective clothing. It also helps in early detection to examine your skin regularly for any changes.
With this information, the next time you hear the term melanocyte in any conversation, you can contribute useful insights. The most important thing, of course, is to actually practice what you will be preaching during these conversations.
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