How Melanoma Develops

Melanoma develops in a manner similar to other cancer types. A cell’s DNA genes, which control cell division and reproduction, become damaged. The damaged genes cause the cell to divide and grow without control or order, eventually becoming a malignant tumor.

In the case of melanoma, the damage to the DNA is usually caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and the affected cells are melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. The first tumor that develops is usually located in the skin. If not caught, melanoma will grow and spread along the epidermis before penetrating deeper layers of the skin and eventually coming into contact with lymph and blood vessels.

In this section, you’ll find details of how melanoma develops from normal cells into tumors and, if not checked, eventually spreads through the lymph vessels and bloodstream.

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