About Melanoma Treatment
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is melanoma?
This is a type of cancer that originates from the pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes located in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas usually occur in the skin but in rare cases they may occur in the mouth, eyes and intestines. Melanomas may also develop from a mole. Most melanomas are brown or black although some are pink, skin-colored, red, blue, purple or white.What causes melanoma?
Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure is the most common cause of melanoma. People with low levels of skin pigment are at high risk of developing melanoma when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning devices. The genetic defect can also cause the skin cells to rapidly multiply forming malignant tumors.Risk factors include:
Types of melanoma
- Lots of freckles or moles
- Red or blonde hair
- A family history of melanoma
- Pale skin that easily burns
- Superficial spreading melanoma: This is the most common type of melanoma.
- Nodular melanoma: This fast developing melanoma is common in middle-aged people. It can appear in areas not regularly exposed to the sun.
- Lentigo maligna melanoma: It is most common in the elderly and people who spend most of their time outdoors. It mostly develops on the face and slowly over several years.
- Acral lentiginous melanoma: This is a rare melanoma that appears on the soles of feet and on the palms of the hands. It is common in people with dark skin.
- If you notice any changes in your moles you should see a specialist.
- A biopsy of the suspicious mole will be removed surgically and studied for cancer cells.
- A sentinel node biopsy may also be done to check if the melanoma has spread to other body parts.
How can I prevent melanoma?
- The typical treatment of melanoma is removal by surgery. This is usually the case if it is diagnosed early.
- If the diagnosis is late and the melanoma has spread, chemotherapy is usually used to slow cancer and manage symptoms.
- Other treatments include biologic therapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy.
How to check for melanoma
- Avoid exposure to ultraviolet light and if exposure is unavoidable use sunscreen.
- Check your freckles and moles regularly for any changes.
Knowing your skin is an important part of diagnosing melanoma especially by recognizing any changes in the moles or freckles on your body. You should look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma and if there are one or more, you should see your doctor.
- Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the middle and the two sides are not the same it is asymmetrical and this is a warning sign.
- Border: The borders of melanoma are uneven and the edges may be notched and scalloped.
- Color: Melanomas have a variety of colors and different shades of black, brown or tan may appear. The melanoma may also become white, blue or red.
- Diameter: Melanomas usually have a large diameter. However, they may be smaller when first detected.
- Evolving: Melanomas change or evolve over time. Any changes in shape, size or color should be a warning sign. Any new symptoms such as itching, crusting or bleeding should be of concern.
Learn more about Melanoma