What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a malignant cancer that starts from the pigment cells (melanocytes) of the skin. These cells are the cause of freckles and moles on the skin and produce the brown colour of a suntan.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, even on the soles of the feet. Melanocytes in the eye, nervous system and mucous membranes (eg lining of the mouth and nasal passages) can also become cancerous. These types of melanoma are rare.
Melanoma grows quickly. If it is not treated, it may spread to the lower layer of skin, where cancer cells can escape and be carried to other parts of the body in blood or lymph vessels.
In particular, it is of great importance to Australians for two main reasons:
Information courtesy of the Melanoma Institute Website
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun. Fair skinned/Anglo-Celtic individuals need to develop a lifestyle and/or strategies that minimise their total exposure to sunlight, especially during childhood and adolescence. The single most important issue to understand about protecting the skin from sun damage is that sunscreen lotions themselves should only be considered after the basic measures have been taken:
Watch the video outlining the ABCDE guidelines for checking your own skin
How to check your Skin