Melanoma: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

Are you dealing with sores which are not healing anytime soon? Do they feel itchy and painful? Have you spotted pigment, redness or swelling spreading outside the border of a spot?

Then these signs indicate towards- Melanoma.

It is one the most recognized skin problems today. Usually, sun is blamed for melanoma. It is due to the harmful UV radiation from the sun which causes damage to the DNA in your cells. Now sometimes the damage is so severe that it affects the genetic code which further controls how and when your cells grow and divide. Due to this, the cells begin to grow out of control and this is what leads to cancer.

Does it spread?

You need to understand that UV exposure to your skin in childhood or young adult years leads to skin cancer. Though the problem is not contagious like other skin issues such as scabies, which spreads due to mite infestation, yet it can pass among the family members. This means, if someone in the family had (or have) melanoma, their children are in a higher risk category.

With this, if you had bad sunburn when you were a child, you are prone to this problem.


How to identify Melanoma?

As far as the first sign of melanoma are concerned, these include a change in shape, color, or size of a currently existing mole.  Hence, it is advised to visit your doctor if there is a sudden or continuous change in a mole. Sometimes it might appear as a new mole. Here is a short trick to remember what you need to look for;

  • Asymmetry:In case the state of one portion of the mole doesn’t appear same to the state of the other half.
  • Border:If the color starts spreading to the adjacent skin, i.e. on the outskirts and edges which are typically obscured and battered.
  • Color:When the shade starts turning uneven, which means that some areas are in cocoa or dark colors while the other are white, dim and red.
  • Diameter:Is the size appearing different? Usually, melanomas are bigger than 6 millimeters or ¼ inch.
  • Evolving:If the mole has undergone a severe change in the previous couple of weeks or months.

Here it is worth noticing that not all the melanomas demonstrate these highlighted features.

How to prevent melanoma skin cancer?

Certainly, it is not easy to treat cancer. In many cases, it might take a lifelong to be treated. However, with some simple steps you can reduce the chances of its occurrence.

  • First and foremost, you need to avoid tanning beds.
  • You can consider wearing hats, visors and tightly woven clothing to block the sunlight UV ray.
  • Don’t step out of your home without wearing sunscreens with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of above 15.
  • Try to stay out of the sun during 10 am and 4 pm, as during this period sunlight is very strong and UV level is at the highest.

How to treat melanoma skin cancer?

If the cancer is caught in early stage, it can be cured easily.This means, if the brown or black lesions haven’t spread beyond the skin surface, it might be cured with the help of a simple surgery.

However, if the case is severe, i.e. when the melanoma has spread to other parts of body, it can be difficult to treat. The chances of 5-year survival rate are as follow:

  1. 62% if melanoma has spread under the skin (approx. to those lymph nodes)
  2. 16% when it spreads to distant body parts
  3. 98% localised melanoma.

 

For the first two cases, Chemotherapy, radiation or biological therapy will be used to treat the cancer.

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