Melanoma Diagnosis and Treatment

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Melanoma is a threatening form of skin cancer which will affect almost 200,000 Americans this year. A little less than half of these diagnoses will be noncancerous, however that leaves more than half that will be malignant, meaning the cancerous growths will penetrate the dermis and become invasive. Those of us who spent a lot of time in the sun or tanning beds, not protecting our skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, fear that one day we will be diagnosed with this horrible cancer.

This exposure damages the skin and when the DNA in skin cells have not been repaired, mutations are formed which lead to these malignant skin cells to rapidly multiply and form tumors. Some of these tumors are difficult to see because they are in parts of the body that a person doesn’t look at consistently, or the person just thinks a new mole is forming – especially those people who already have a lot of moles – what’s one more? According to skincancer.org anyone who has 100 or more moles is at a greater risk for this cancer.

People who know that have been exposed to ultraviolet light while unprotected or used tanning beds should have ‘body checks’ by a dermatologist. A dermatologist will look at the skin throughout the body, and mark moles that look suspect and watch if there is any growth or changes to it. Here are the ABCDE signs of melanoma: A-asymmetry – is the mole not symmetric? B – border – is the border of the mole uneven? C – color – does the color of an existing mole change, or a new mole a different color than the others on your body? D – diameter – does the mole seem larger than other moles on your body? E – evolving – does the mole look different over time.

That would include shape, color, elevation, size, bleeding, itching? If melanoma is caught early, the chance of survival is high. If it is caught in a late stage and it is the invasive type, it could be fatal. How can you prevent melanoma? Try not to expose your body to too much ultraviolet rays, especially don’t get sunburned and use skin protection either by wearing clothes and hats, or sunscreen. You should stay out of the sun and if you are a parent, keep your kids out of the sun from birth. Don’t chance it. Melanoma’s treatment includes removal of the tumor which is usually done by excision.

Curettage and electrodesiccation is another method of treatment – a curette which is a long instrument with a looped edge on one end scrapes the affected area and then the area is treated with an electrode to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Mohs surgery is also used when the risk that the cancer will be returned is high. This surgery is performed by a doctor with special training who removes thin layers of the skin and as each layer is removed, it is viewed under a microscope until the samples no longer show cancer cells.

If a mole is especially large or thick, .8mm or larger, then the lesion is a risk of metastasizing to the lymph nodes. Once it gets in the lymph system, melanoma cancerous cells can easily spread throughout the body, which can be fatal. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), persons who live in the Midwest have a mid-to-high level chance of developing skin cancer. The states with the highest rates, though include Iowa, Minnesota, and Utah – if you consider Utah to be Midwest. In 2015 8885 people died in the US and for every 100,000 people where 22 new melanomas were reported, 2 died of from it.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, in 2015 523 Nebraskans were diagnosed with melanoma and 22 people died. More males than females are generally diagnosed with melanoma and people over age 50 are more likely to be diagosed with it increasing significantly for those over age 65. It’s almost impossible to stay out of the sun every day of your life, or wear sunscreen all of the time when out in the sun, but seeing these statistics makes me want to do more to protect myself and my family.

Cite this paper

Melanoma Diagnosis and Treatment. (2021, Jul 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/melanoma-diagnosis-and-treatment/

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