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I can’t understand melanoma

Forums General Melanoma Community I can’t understand melanoma

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      Is it really caused by Sun exposure? I don’t think so. There are many many people enjoying each day in their life soaking up the sun, tanning, not applying sunscreen and never get melanoma, while others never do these stuff and it happens to them in a young age. I just don’t know what really causes this disease! It’s unfair.I hate it.
      Sorry but I’m very disappointed and just want to say it.
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          I am BRAF negative. My onocologist told me more than likely my melanoma was not caused by the sun and I agree. My first 44 months in the Army my face was exposed to nuclear materials with only safety glasses for protection. I was only supposed to do it for 6 months and then be moved out due to exposure. I started developing skin cancers on my face while still on active duty and have had 15 skin cancer surguries for all 3 kinds of skin cancer. In 2015 I had 2 melanomas on my head, one was 2b before taken care of and now I am stage 4. I am 100% positive my cancer was caused by radiation exposure.


            Forgot to mention all cancers were on the front of my face except one.


                I'm of the same belief that melanoma can result from a number of different things and sun exposure is only one of them. Even though my primary was never found (most likely regressed) I believe it was located on my skin in the area of my ear. I believe this because the 5 positive nodes were all just below the ear. I worked in research and development for the cellphone industry from 98-2014 (Regularly using prototype devices with much higher transmit and receive RF than allowed for commercial devices). In mid-2016 I stopped holding any cellphone to my ear (100% headphone or speakerphone use) because it had become uncomfortable. My melanoma showed up in my lymph nodes in late 2016. 

                Note: I fully believe that cellphone use is very safe. I only mention my senario because I was using mobile phones which were cranked up for antenna testing.


                My husbands melanoma was on the back of his head under medium length dark brown hair and he worked 40 years of mostly midnights and afternoon turn.  He wasn't a tanning person.  So it is believed that his was not from the sun so we have a strong feeling that his was not caused from the sun either and his oncologist thinks as well.

                Judy (loving wife of Gene Stage IV in Oct. 2010, started Clinical Trial in Mar. 2011 for Ipi 10 mg/kg and GM-CSF and became NED in July 2012)


                  The flip side:  I have no family history of it etc….but I had many many many horribly bad sunburns as a kid, throughout childhood and adolescence and even young adulthood.  I believe mine was directly caused by sun exposure.


                    Is it caused by sun exposure? YES. Are there other factors and reasons people get melanoma? YES. It's not 100% caused by the sun… so some of us have to accept that something else, whether it's our genes or other exposures, caused us to have melanoma. Does everyone who has ever been a sun worshiper get skin cancer? NO. And those that do get skin cancer, are more likely to get basal cell carcinoma rather than melanoma. But, are there those people that did worship the sun, tan regularly, and never use sun protection that have gotten and may currently be fighting melanoma? YES. Many different factors, and it sucks having to accept that we won't always have a concrete reason as to why this happened to us.

                    I hate melanoma too. Sending a hug or thirty your way 🙂 


                      Somewhere around 10% of melanomas are considered genetic.  I have a genetic defect.  Given a 76% lifetime risk of developing melanoma.  Mother and sister also have had melanoma.  I also had a few blistering sunburns (being a redhead) in my childhood.  I figured those just sealed my fate.  Environmental damage like the radiation exposure already touched upon has always been a known risk factor.  Red hair, blue eyes, type 1 skin are also risk factors.  The immune system plays a role – whether or not it recognizes damaged cells and destroys them or just lets them grow.  None of those are 100% but some of us just win the wrong lottery.  The sun is a major factor but it is definitely not the only factor.  However, it is one thing we do have some control over – we can control our exposure.  That's why it is brought up so much more than other things.


                        I hate it too – and seeing people everywhere that are probably not wearing sunscreen and intentionally tan! Of course I don't wish this on them, it is simply that sense of unfairness.

                        After my diagnosis, some members of my family did their own googling and pointed out journal articles showing a correlation with mono.  Now whether or not there is actually a relationship, mono is another illness that most people cannot control getting.  I did have a "mild" case of mono 10 years ago and if this is what prompted my melanoma –  unbelievable.


                          I agree it is caused more due to Genes rather than sun. So many ethnic groups who spend most of their lifetime clothed and get very little sun exposure (those living in the far north, or Mongolians, etc) still get it, percentage-wise they get it no less than people with pale skin, i.e caucasians


                              i think my genes made me more susecptible to getting it from the sun.  i burn instead of tan.  i'm very fair skinned.  i think that genetic makeup made my risk higher from the sun exposure


                                That's not true. Those with fair skin are at a much greater risk of geting melanoma than darker skin. And the sun does play a huge role, more than genes, in the development of melanoma. Sometimes we think our own situation is the norm, but we can't make that assumption, researchers have been looking at very large groups of people to determine what the main factors in getting certain cancers are. They have determined at this point that 10% of melanoma cases are due to genes and the rest is due to sun exposure. We can't ignore all of the research that's been done based on our own assumtions and this small group of folks on here. Perhaps in the future more research will be done and that 10% will look more like 20%.. but we'll have to wait and see.


                                this gives a good look at the different levels of skin tones and which are at greater risk… we are ALL at risk, but some have higher chances than others in getting melanoma:



                                  Risk versus defect.

                                  A genetic defect means a gene has already gone thru one mutation.  It is one iteration closer to allowing melanoma to form.  My defect is at p16 – also titled CDKN2A.  This is a quantifiable defect that can be seen via genetic testing.

                                  Genes that determine hair color, skin type, eye color are not the same as a true genetic defect.  These features show higher risk for developing melanoma.  These features are also high risk for sunburns.   Therefore, sun exposure is more of a factor for those higher risk categories.  There are other genetic defects – one Scottish one that again contains some of the group with red hair, light skin, blue eyes.

                                  Risk and defect aren't the same thing and there are plenty of redheads with blue eyes and light skin who do not get melanoma.  However, if you do the research on the melanoma population, these factors increase your risk.  I've got some notes from a symposium – data may be 10 years old but you get the idea.

                                  There is a 7% increase in UVB radiation for each 1000 feet of elevation.  The Mountain West population has some of the highest incidences per capita because of sunny days and high elevation.  Utah (where I live at 4800' above sea level) is categorized in the HIGH risk category. 

                                  Melanoma is the leading cancer in men age 40-44.
                                  Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women 20-29, and men 20-39.These are compared to the normal caucasian population.

                                  If several people in your family have melanoma:  35-70 times greater risk to develop melanoma

                                  If you've had a previous Primary melanoma: 8.5 times greater risk to develop melanoma

                                  If you have a family history of just 1 person in your family: 2-3 times as likely to develop melanoma

                                  If you have Type I skin (always burns, never tans), freckles, blue eyes, red hair: 7.4-10 times more likely to get melanoma

                                  If you've had one blistering sunburn: You are at 2 to 3 times greater risk than the average caucasian
                                  without blistering sunburn history.

                                  Many/Unusual Moles: 2 to 12 times greater chance of getting melanoma

                                  90% of melanomas are sporadic.

                                  Other reasons why MM may cluster in families:
                                  Shared environment
                                  Shared sun exposure
                                  Normal features that are inherited

                                  Clues for an Inherited Risk of MM:
                                  Several family members with melanoma
                                  Melanoma in many generations
                                  Melanoma occuring at a younger than usual age
                                  One person with one or more melanoma primaries
                                  Many/Unusual looking moles
                                  The presence of certain other related types of cancer within the family

                                  NOT ALL families have all of these clues, but even having 1 or more of these clues in a family makes it more likely that there is an inherited risk for melanoma.

                                  If one blood relative has had melanoma, your risk is increase 2-3 times higher than someone without a blood relative with MM.  If 3 or more blood relatives have melanoma, your risk is 30-70 times higher.

                                  45% of all melanomas removed are in situ.

                                raun cesar

                                  I agree something dont make sense why we are choosen with this. I lost my 40 year old brother back in November. He battled melanoma for a year and ended up dying from sepsis. 

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