While this is not a common type of cancer, its impact can still be considerable.
According to the American Cancer Society, while melanoma only consists of 2% of forms of skin cancer, it is the most harmful form of skin cancer and also has the highest death rate, comprising 80% of all of skin cancer-related deaths.
This is a silent disease that is often detected once it has already metastasized which is why it is important to be aware of the warning signs and know the risk factors. (Read also: Skin cancer: One of the most preventable cancers)
Clinical oncologist Carlos Vargas explains the three main factors that can prevent or treat this disease before it is too late:
- Early detection. It is common for patients themselves to detect the melanoma on their own skin. More than half of cases are discovered by patients themselves or by family members.
- Self-examinations by the patient. Check your skin regularly, and if you suspect anything, talk with a healthcare professional.
- Take measures to protect yourself from the sun. UV (ultraviolet) rays are at their highest between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.