Melanoma affects many people all over the world, and while it is a common form of cancer, it could easily be touted as one of the most misunderstood. The fact is, there are many different falsehoods floating around where melanoma is concerned. To understand your risks and what to expect if you are diagnosed, it is best to get these untruths out of the way.
Misconception: Children are not at risk of melanoma.
Even though it is true that melanoma can be more common among adults over a certain age group, it is also sometimes found in children and young adults. Therefore, parents should not only be on the lookout for signs of melanoma on their own skin, but they should also be watchful of their children and any melanoma symptoms they discover.
Misconception: Melanoma is usually only a spot of cancerous cells.
People associate moles and other spots with melanoma, and this can sometimes be signs of the beginning stages of the disease. However, melanoma can actually spread to other bodily systems, and sometimes, the cells will invade the tissues just under the upper layer of the skin in a way that they are hard to spot. Because of this, melanoma surgery may or may not be a localized procedure; it can actually involve more areas of the skin than you would expect.
Misconception: If you have moles, you'll probably get melanoma.
Having moles is definitely a risk factor for developing melanoma, but having a mole or two does not automatically mean they you have the disease. There are several risk factors for melanoma, and none of them mean you will actually get cancer. For example, people who have a history of using tanning beds or spending long hours in the sun may be more at risk than someone who has moles on their skin.
Misconception: Women are more at risk for melanoma than men because they try to get tan.
People who spend a lot of time concerned about tanning, whether artificially or in direct sunlight, are definitely more at risk of developing melanoma. However, men are actually more at risk than women. According to EWG.org:
Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with melanoma and much more likely to die of it. Which means that men need to do more to protect themselves from the sun.
In the end, melanoma can be a little complicated, but seeking the truth is always a good idea. Reach out to a dermatology clinic like Asheboro Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center if you would like to know more truths about melanoma.