Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Causes Melanoma? Part 2

Ultraviolet radiation can damage our DNA. This is the genetic material in our cells. Sometimes the damage can affect certain genes that control how and when our cells grow and divide. If the genes don't work properly, the affected cells can form a melanoma.

Most ultraviolet radiation comes from sunlight, but sometimes it will come from artificial sources, such as tanning beds. Some of this exposure may have occurred a few years before the beginning of cancer.

Children and adults who have received a lot of intense sun exposure may not see a result of cancer for many years.

Some families have inherited melanomas, gene changes that increase the risk of melanoma being passed from one generation to the next.

Most moles never turn into a melanoma, but some can. It is not yet known why some moles may become malignant or why having many moles increases a person's risk of getting melanoma.

Coming Next:
Who is Likely to Get Melanoma?

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