Integumentary System

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  • Topic: Melanoma, Skin, Melanin
  • Pages : 2 (608 words )
  • Download(s) : 123
  • Published : March 10, 2013
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The skin is the largest organ of the body. The skin and its components including hair, nails, sweat glands, and oil glands, make up the integumentary system. The main functions of the skin is to provide protection to the body and organ systems. It protects the body from external factors such as bacteria, chemicals, and temperature. The skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria, and the pigment melanin provides a chemical defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. The skin also helps control body temperature. A layer of cells between the epidermis and the dermis called melanocytes produce a brown-black skin pigment called melanin. Melanin determines the color of the skin, eyes, and hair. Melanin also helps protect against the damaging rays of the sun. As a person ages, melanocytes often spread and proliferate. The melanocytes then form clusters that appear on the skin surface as small, dark, flat, or dome-shaped spots, which are usually harmless moles. When cell proliferation occurs in a controlled and contained manner, the spot is usually benign and noncancerous and is usually nothing more than a mole. However, sometimes pigment cells grow out of control and become a cancerous and life-threatening melanoma. Melanoma accounts for 5% of all skin cancers and it results in most of the skin cancer deaths. At first, melanoma cells are found in the epidermis and top layers of the dermis. But, once they grow downward into the dermis the cancer can come into contact with lymph and blood vessels, and from there spread to other parts of the body. If the melanoma is thicker it has a bigger chance of spreading to other places in the body. That is why it is important to have the mole or lesion that is affected removed before it reaches to deeper layers of the skin, There are Several types of melanomas but four common types, superficial spreading melanoma, Nodular Melanoma, Lentigo Maligna, and Acral Lentiginous Melanoma. Out of the four Superficial...
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