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Melanoma

Overview

malignant skin tumor that involves the skin cells that produce pigment (melanin) .


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Causes

Any change in an existing wart, mole, or other skin lesion, or development of a new growth that ulcerates and does not healwell, could indicate the development of a skin cancer. Skin cancer has a high cure rate if treated early, but neglect can allow thecancer to spread, causing disability or death.Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. It is also the least common. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma is the number one cancer in young women under age 35. It can affect any age, with a recent trend toward discoveryof the tumor at increasingly younger ages. Men have a higher rate of death from malignant melanoma than women. Deaths from complications of malignant melanoma are increasing at a faster rate than deaths from any other form of cancer exceptlung cancer.Malignant melanoma involves cancerous changes to the skin cells that produce the skin's pigment, melanin. About 70% ofmelanomas appear on normal skin, and 30% occur in nevi (moles) or other lesions that have changed in appearance. Rarely,congenital birthmarks such as blue nevi and giant nevi may develop melanomas. The tumor may develop quickly and initiallyspreads to adjacent skin. It is highly curable in this phase. Later, it spreads downward to deeper skin areas and may spread(metastasize) to the internal structures and organs. This phase has a much lower cure rate.Superficial spreading melanoma is a form of malignant melanoma that accounts for about 70% of cases of this disorder. It maystrike at any age and is most common in Caucasians.Nodular melanoma accounts for about 15% of cases. It may include ulcerations that never heal. It can develop anywhere on thebody, usually between the ages of 20 and 60.Acral lentiginous melanoma occurs in about 10% of cases of melanoma. It is most common in the elderly and always occurs onthe palms, soles, or mucosal surfaces.Lentigo maligna melanoma occurs in about 5% of cases, usually in the elderly. It is most common in sun damaged skin on thehead, neck, and arms.Sunlight (ultraviolet light) is the chief cause of all skin cancers including melanomas.


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Signs & Symptoms

ALL FORMS of skin lesion or growth.

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Prevention

Minimize sun exposure. Protect skin from the sun: wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeved shirts, long skirts orpants. Sunlight is most intense at mid-day, so try to avoid exposure during these hours. Use high quality sunscreens, preferablywith SPF (sun protection factor) ratings of at least 15. Apply sunscreen at least one-half hour before exposure, and reapplyfrequently. Use sunscreen for winter exposure also.Examine the skin regularly for development of suspicious growths or changes in an existing skin lesion. A new growth thatulcerates or is slow to heal is suspicious. Suspicious changes in existing growths include change in color, size, texture,appearance, or development of pain, inflammation, bleeding or itching. A lesion that is asymmetrical, has irregular or diffuseborders, has multiple colors mixed in one lesion, or is larger than 6 millimeters in diameter is suspicious.


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Treatments
Combination Therapy Modern Medicine

Treatment of Melanoma includesmay include of surgery,Biotherapy,chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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