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  • Dr Amir Waly

Melanoma!

Yes you read that correctly! Melanoma, the simple word which strikes fear into the hearts of many, and for good reason too. This is essentially a cancer of a specific type of cell in the skin called Melanocyte. Normally, this little cell's major job is to produce melanin, which is the pigment found in the skin. As you no doubt have guessed, the degree of melanin production varies across the spectrum of races found on the planet.


Melanoma is when these cells, for one reason or another, begin dividing rapidly and in a disorganised manner, forcing their way through the different layers of the skin. Most of the time, they spread superficially before finally spreading down the different skin layers. And this is when you can use a basic tool yourself to evaluate a lesion. Just remember, this is a tool, and you should always seek the help of a trained medical professional.


So, here is the tool:


A: this refers to asymmetry, so look to see if one half mirrors the other


B: this refers to border, so look for irregular borders


C: this refers to colour, so look for multiple different colours, especially blue, black and/or brown


Unfortunately, living in Australia means the risk of melanoma is very high, so it is definitely worth knowing the above tool, and getting regular skin checks, especially if some of the lesions begin changing in any way.

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