Dangerous Skin Cancer

Melanoma: The Most Dangerous Skin Cancer

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Melanoma is the most invasive skin cancer with the highest risk of death. While it is serious skin cancer, it is highly curable if diagnosed early. Prevention and early treatment are critical especially for fair skin people.

Dr. William Long New York specializes in detecting and treating this serious type of skin cancer.

Melanoma- overview 

Melanoma, also known as “black tumor”, is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It can proliferate quickly metastasizing to any organ. Melanoma comes from the skin cells known as melanocytes that produce melanin (a dark pigment that gives skin its color).  About 30% of the melanomas begin in existing moles while the rest can arise from the normal skin. 

Causes of melanoma

When the melanocytes mutate abnormally, they turn cancerous. There are certain risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing skin cancer, such as:

  • A family history of melanoma
  • Age above 40 years
  • Excess sun exposure
  • Fair skin, light eyes, freckles
  • A large number of moles
  • Presence of age spots
  • A weakened immune system 

Clinical features of melanoma 

Most melanomas appear to arise from an existing mole, thus it is important to check your moles for any suspicious changes.

You may notice the following signs that indicate a melanoma:

  • The sudden appearance of a new mole
  • Change in the shape and color of an existing mole
  • Scaly patches, or raised bumps with uneven edges
  • A skin sore that does not heal
  • A firm, red lump that may bleed
  • A spot that looks waxy, shiny, or smooth is usually greater than 6.0 mm in diameter 

Treatment for melanoma 

Your melanoma treatment usually depends on the stage of the tumor and your general health.

Treatment for melanoma includes:

  • Surgery
    • It is the most common treatment for melanoma which involves surgical removal of the cancer and some normal skin surrounding it.
  • Lymphadenectomy
    • Is the surgical removal of the lymph nodes along with the tumor, to prevent the spread to other areas of your body.
  • Metastasectomy
    • It is the surgical removal of small fragments of melanomas from the organs
  • Targeted cancer therapy
    • Certain drugs are used to attack specific cancer cells.
  • Other treatments include radiation therapy and immunotherapy. 

Takeaway 

The best defense against melanoma is prevention and early diagnosis. Make sure to limit your sun exposure and use sunscreen and other sun protective barriers. Seek medical help immediately if you notice any changes in your existing moles or notice a new mole. This will give you the best chance of detecting melanoma early when it is most treatable.

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