Cutaneous Melanoma and Receiving Social Security Disability
Your skin is the outer protective cover for your body. It may surprise you to know that your skin is the largest organ of your body.
Your skin is composed of multiple layers of ectodermal tissue. Your skin protects your underlying ligaments, internal organs, muscles and bones. Your skin plays a crucial part in guarding your body from excessive water loss and infectious agents (pathogens).
Skin cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of your skin. Most of the time, skin cancer is the abnormal growth and proliferation of skin cells that develops on areas of your skin that have been exposed to the sun or some other kind of ultraviolet light. However, skin cancer can also occur on parts of your skin that are not normally exposed to ultraviolet light.
Cutaneous melanoma is one of the three main forms of skin cancer. The other two are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
Cutaneous melanoma is the rarest of these three main kinds of skin cancer. Cutaneous melanoma represents about 5% of all skin cancer. This means that over 50,000 new cases of cutaneous melanoma are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Cutaneous melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It causes the most deaths even though it is the rarest of the three main kinds of skin cancer.
Cutaneous melanoma begins in cells that are known as melanocytes. These cells produce a skin pigment that is called melanin. Melanin is what determines both your skin and hair color.
The hallmark sign or symptom of cutaneous melanoma is usually a sore, lump, growth or mole on your skin. Another thing to watch for is bleeding that results from a growth of your skin.
There is an ABCDE guide that can help you in watching out for the signs and symptoms of melanoma. It is:
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- A Look for growths with asymmetrical, irregular shapes, such as one that has two halves that do not look alike.
- B Look for growths that have notched, scalloped or irregular borders.
- C Look for growths that have changes in color, an uneven distribution of color, or many colors.
- D Look for a growth that is larger than ¼ of an inch.
- E Look for a growth that is evolving or changing over time, such as changing color, shape or growing in size.