What is Melanoma?
Melanoma can be referred to as the most dangerous type of skin cancer and it develops from melanocytes. This kind of condition is identified by the presence of moles that are black or brown in color. Melanoma is more common in men than women.
Early diagnosis of melanoma ensures successful treatment. Undiagnosed melanoma can further spread to other parts of the body. It is a kind of cancer that develops in pigment cells called melanocytes.
Melanoma can be of very dangerous than other forms of skin cancer. This might spread to other parts of the body and cause serious illness, or even death.
Causes of Melanoma
The main cause of melanomas is the damage which is caused to the DNA by exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Genetics also play a role in melanoma.
Risks of Melanoma
The main risk factors of melanoma include:
- Weakened immune system
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays
- History of sunburn
In order to prevent the occurrence of melanoma, one should take care of the following:
- Avoiding ultraviolet rays by wearing sun-protective clothing
- Using a sunscreen, which is an effective way to prevent melanoma (sunscreen ingredients like avobenzone, zinc, oxide and titanium dioxide can effectively stop and block both UVA and UVB, even at a lower sun protection factor)
- Avoiding the use of tanning lamps because they emit UV rays
How is Melanoma diagnosed?
The most basic and common diagnostic technique is visual inspection. Moles that are irregular in shape and color are called ‘candidates’. It is important for people to learn to recognize moles.
If they do change in any way (in color, shape, size, border, etc.) or exhibit other features, it is advised to consult a qualified physician. 3 types of biopsy to diagnose melanoma:
- Excisional Biopsy
- Punch Biopsy
- Incisional Biopsy
Symptoms of Melanoma
Some of the common symptoms of melanoma include:
- Change in the shape and color from pre-existing moles
- One half of the mole does not match the other half
- The edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular
- Other paraneoplastic symptoms include nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and loss of appetite
How is Melanoma treated?
If melanoma is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be easily treated by biopsy. However, if it has spread beyond the skin, treatment options include:
Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy use drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs directly target cancer and stop it from spreading to other parts of the body.
Biological Therapy - It includes high-powered energy beams that kill cancer cells. This therapy removes lymph nodes and helps relieve symptoms of melanoma.