SKIN CANCER, MELANOMA Overview, Facts, Types,Symptoms- Watsons Health

SKIN CANCER, MELANOMA

Melanoma is considered as the most serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that give individuals their skin color. Too much exposure to the harmful UV rays of sunlight can cause someone to get this type of skin cancer.

Melanomas can also develop in some areas of your body such as in the eyes and internal organs; however, it is a rare case.

Early detection of melanoma can lower the risk of severe skin cancer. Reducing your exposure to harmful rays of the sun can help you avoid getting melanoma.

TYPES

Normal moles

Normal moles can develop in most individuals, especially at the age of 50. However, normal moles may change dramatically and may even disappear over time.

You can identify moles by their color such as tan, brown or black, as well as by their shape such as oval or round. They are usually smaller than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters) in diameter — the size of a pencil eraser.

Unusual moles that may indicate melanoma

The characteristics of unusual moles include:

  • Skin lesions:A new mole, uncommon growth, sore, bump, scaly patch, or dark spot develops and doesn’t go away
  • Asymmetry:Uneven or unidentifiable moles
  • Border:Uneven and ragged mole
  • Color:The mole has a different color than normal skin
  • Diameter:If the mole is larger than the normal size
  • Evolving:The mole changes its size, color, or shape

Hidden melanomas

Even with little exposure to direct sunlight, some areas of the body can also develop melanoma. Hidden melanomas can be found in places between your toes and on your palms, soles, scalp or private parts.

Hidden melanomas include:

  • Melanoma under a nail.A rare type of melanoma that can occur in individuals with black skin color or darker skin pigments. It is often found under a finger or a toe nail.
  • Melanoma in the mouth, digestive tract, urinary tract or vagina.This type of melanoma can be difficult to detect, as it is hidden under the mucous membrane.
  • Melanoma in the eye.Changes in vision can help a doctor detectmelanoma. This type of melanoma often occurs in uvea.

SYMPTOMS

Even with sunlight exposure or not , you are at risk of getting melanoma, as it has no chosen part of the body to occur. However, individuals with darker skin can get mostly hidden melanomas.

The first signs and symptoms of a melanoma include:

  • An uncommon growth in the skin
  • Existing mole changes such as thecolor or size

Most melanomas can be identified as normal-appearing skin.

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will do the following tests to diagnose a melanoma.

These include:

Skin cancer screening

Screening for skin cancer can be done at home by yourself and by your healthcare professional.

Biopsy

To diagnose melanoma, biopsy procedures are needed and these include:

  • Punch biopsy
  • Excisional biopsy
  • Incisional biopsy

Melanoma stages

After diagnosing melanoma, stages should be determine right away to know the proper treatment of the condition.

Your dermatologist will check for:

  • Thickness
  • If the melanoma has spread

TREATMENT

Treatment for melanoma varies on its severity and size. Your doctor will also ask your preferred way.

Treating early-stage melanomas

For treating melanoma on its early stage, the surgeon will do surgery to remove the melanoma.

Treating melanomas that have spread beyond the skin

Severe cases of melanoma can be treated with:

  • Surgery to remove affected lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Targeted therapy

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