What is Melanoma?

Skin is one of the most major and impactful organs of the body, which regulates the body temperature and protects the body from infection and harm, furthermore, the skin also helps in the production of Vitamin D. 

There are three different layers in the skin, and they are classified according to their positions. 

  • The Epidermis is the skin’s outermost layer. 
  • The Dermis is the skin’s innermost layer.
  • The Hypodermis is the granular layer that is beneath the Epidermis. 

Epidermis is the deepest layer of the skin. It contains poised cells called as Melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that provide the pigment or skin colour. 

Melanoma is a malignant tumor that develops when healthy melanocytes mutate and expand out of control. A malignant tumor can mature and spread to other regions of the body. Melanoma can sometimes arise from an existing mole on a person’s skin. This is when the mole undergoes modifications that are usually visible, such as the change in shape, size, colour etc.

Melanoma can develop in any part of the body, including the head and neck, under the nails, the external genitalia, the lower limbs, and even the hands. It isn’t always in the same shade or colour as a lesion. Melanoma, on the other hand, can usually be cured with surgery if detected in its early stages. However, it is also one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. Melanoma can also develop in the mucous membranes particularly surrounding the mouth, the gastrointestinal tract, vagina, and other body parts, melanoma can develop in the eye as well.

Types of Melanoma

Amelanotic melanoma is a type of melanoma that has no colour or sometimes can occur in shades of red.

Metastatic melanoma is a type of melanoma that can infect blood arteries and spread into the lymph nodes and other regions of the body. 

Eye melanoma is a type of cancer that affects the eyes.

Anorectal melanoma is a type of melanoma that develops in the anus or rectum.

Vaginal melanoma is a type of melanoma that develops in the lower third of the vagina.