Melanoma: What It Is, Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment
Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is becoming increasingly prevalent and poses a significant threat to our wellness.
When it comes to our overall well-being, skin often goes overlooked. Being the largest organ of our body, it is susceptible to various conditions, including skin cancer. Commonly referred to as melanoma, it is regarded as one of the most perilous forms of skin cancer. It exhibits rapid growth and possesses the potential to metastasize to any organ within the body.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that originates in the cells that produce pigment in the skin, known as melanocytes. These cells are responsible for giving colour to our skin, hair, and eyes. Melanoma occurs when these cells begin to grow abnormally, forming malignant tumours. It can spread to other parts of the body, making it a life-threatening condition if left untreated.
Symptoms of Melanoma:
It is critical to detect melanoma in its early stages for successful treatment. Getting to know the symptoms and warning signs of this skin condition can help identify potential issues and seek medical attention promptly.
Common signs of melanoma include:
Unusual moles or lesions: Moles or lesions that are irregular in shape, asymmetry, uneven edges, or variations in colour can lead to melanoma hence it is important to keep watch of these developments
Changes in existing moles: If you experience any changes in size, shape, colour, or texture of existing moles monitor and keep a watch
Itching, pain, or bleeding: If an existing mole or lesion becomes itchy, painful, or starts bleeding, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional
Non-healing sores or spots: If sores or any kind of spot persist for an extended period they should be evaluated by a dermatologist
Dark streaks under nails or palms: Dark streaks that appear beneath the nails or on the palms may indicate advanced melanoma and should be examined by a medical expert
Causes of Melanoma:
The primary cause of melanoma is damage to the DNA of skin cells. The DNA can be damaged by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiations from the sun or artificial sources, such as tanning beds. Here are some additional risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing melanoma:
Excessive sun exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours, increases the risk of melanoma.
Fair skin: Individuals with fair skin, light-coloured eyes, and naturally red or blond hair are more susceptible to melanoma.
Family history: Having a family history of melanoma raises the risk of developing this disease.
Weakened immune system: People who have weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients or those with certain medical conditions, have an increased vulnerability to melanoma.
Previous skin cancer: Individuals who have previously had skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Various treatment options are available for melanoma, depending on the stage and severity of the disease upon diagnosis. Common treatment options include:
Surgical removal: The primary treatment for early-stage melanoma involves surgically removing the melanoma along with the surrounding healthy tissue. In certain instances, the removal of lymph nodes may also be necessary to examine for potential cancer metastasis.
Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts the body's immune system to fight cancer cells effectively. It can be administered through medications or vaccines.
Targeted Therapy: Specific genetic mutations present in melanoma cells are targeted with designed drugs, preventing the growth and spread of melanoma.
Chemotherapy: In severe and advanced cases, chemotherapy may be used to kill cancer cells or slow down their growth.
Radiation Therapy: High-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation are used to destroy cancer cells and reduce tumour size.
Melanoma is a serious skin cancer that demands our attention and vigilance. We need to take proactive steps towards prevention and early detection of melanoma by regular self-examinations, along with routine visits to dermatologists. Through education and awareness, we can prioritise our wellness and work towards a future where melanoma is no longer a significant threat to our health. Remember, your skin is precious, so take care of it and protect it from the dangers of melanoma. The earlier melanoma is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment. If you notice any changes in a mole, see your doctor right away.
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