Wellness

Published on April 8th, 2014

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Beware of melanoma

This skin cancer is less common but extremely deadly. If diagnosed early and before it spreads, melanoma may be cured.

Melanoma is a less common type of cancer, yet it is considered extremely serious when compared to the other types of skin cancer. Melanomas are usually brown or black in color, nonetheless can appear pink, tan or even white for that matter. Here is an article that will deepen your understanding of this particular type of skin cancer.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma skin cancer is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes. Most of these skin cells still produce melanin, and hence melanoma tumors are often brown or black in appearance. Nevertheless, there are numerous melanomas that could appear pink, tan or even white.

This condition usually occurs on the chest and back in men and on the legs in women, however, it could start at other places too. Another fact is that having dark skin reduces one’s chances of getting melanoma, yet people with dark skin could also develop this type of cancer.

Since, this is a rare skin condition, cancer specialists consider it extremely dangerous, and, nonetheless, if diagnosed in the early stages, it can be cured. Also, if not caught early could spread to other parts of the body as well.

wear sunscreenWhat are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?

Ask any oncology specialist and he/she will tell you how there is no exact cause to this rare skin cancer. However, there are certain risk factors that are linked to this disease such as too much exposure to UV light, numerous moles on the body, light coloured skin and hair, a family history of melanoma, a weak immune system, etc.

How can you prevent getting melanoma?

– Some prevention techniques include limiting your exposure to strong sunlight and other sources emitting UV rays.

–  Stay in the shade, especially in the middle of the day, between 10 am and 4 pm, as the sun’s rays are the strongest then.

– Covering your head with a hat works perfectly well, as a hat helps protect the neck, ears, the area around your eyes, forehead, and nose.

– Protect your skin with a sunscreen. Coat your lips with a protective lip balm.

– Use a pair of sunglasses as and when you know you’re going to stay out in the sun.

How can melanoma be treated?

On being diagnosed with this type of cancer, your oncologist and his/her team will discuss all the possible treatment options with you. This discussion is solely going to be based on your individual case. Some of the options may include:

1. Surgery

2. Immunotherapy

3. Targeted therapy

4. Chemotherapy

5. Radiation therapy

Who are the experts specialists that could be involved in treating melanoma skin cancer?

Some of the experts include dermatologists, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, dieticians, nurses, etc.

Understand the fact that melanoma can be treated with surgery alone, if detected in its early stage; nonetheless, there are times when more than one type of treatment could be used as well.

Concluding, if you are someone who is diagnosed with this type of skin cancer, try and get a second opinion. It is important to consult the right doctor and start your treatment plan as early.

 (Pictures courtesy skincancerawarenessproject.com, www.dailymail.co.uk)

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