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This form of skin cancer can masquerade as a common mole or other skin change. Take our quiz to find out if you should see a dermatologist about a suspicious spot.
Melanoma is one of the three major forms of skin cancer. It’s less common than the other two, which are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. However, melanoma is more likely than other skin cancers to spread throughout the body, which makes it the most serious form.
Melanoma begins in melanocytes, which are cells found in the deep layers of your skin. Melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin that gives skin its color. When you are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays or any other source of UV (such as a tanning bed), melanocytes step up production of melanin, which protects the skin and causes it to darken. However, exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA of melanocytes and make them grow uncontrollably, which can cause melanoma.
You can reduce your risk for melanoma by taking a few simple steps:
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