Melanoma – the most dangerous skin cancer

Published: September 01, 2009

Share

There are three types of skin cancer:

  • Squamos cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Melanoma is the least common skin cancer, but it is the most dangerous and causes the most skin cancer-related deaths. It begins in the melanin-producing cells in the skin’s epidermis (its top layer). Melanin is a pigment, and gives skin its colour. Melanoma can spread to neighbouring cells at a rapid speed, creating malignant cancer cells in other parts of the body. So, it is important to detect melanoma early.

Causes:

  • Too much exposure to UV radiation. UV rays emitted by the sun and other sources such as tanning booths can damage skin cells and make them grow abnormally
  • Sometimes a hereditary disorder can contribute to the development of melanoma

The melanin produced by cells (called melanocytes) protects the skin from sun damage.

The less melanin the cells produce, the fairer the skin and the more prone to cell damage. So, fair-skinned people are more at risk of contracting melanoma or another type of skin cancer. People living in areas with a higher level of UV radiation – in places along the earth’s equator, for example – are also at a higher risk.

Symptoms:

Melanoma appears in the form of a mole, which can either develop suddenly or grow out from within an existing one. It can appear anywhere on the skin, but is often found around the hip and shoulder area. There is also a tendency for men to develop melanoma around the neck and head area and women on the lower legs.

Consult a doctor if your mole:

  • Increases in size
  • Changes shape or acquires an unusual edge
  • Changes colour – becomes darker, pearly, transluscent or multi-coloured
  • Itches or becomes painful
  • Starts bleeding, becomes crusty or inflamed

Or if the following appears on your skin:

  • An open sore that heals and reopens again
  • A tender, scaly bump that is rough and pointed

Treatment:

The treatment of melanoma depends on various factors, such as the location and size of the tumour, the patient’s general health, the stage of the melanoma (whether it has spread to other parts of the body etc), and whether ulceration occured in its primary stages.

The most common treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotheray
  • Biologic therapy - an alternative treatment, which uses various substances to enhance the body’s immune system and help it fight the cancer
  • Chemoimmunotherapy - a new treatment currently being tested. It combines biologic therapy with the use of anti-cancer drugs to help the immune system fight the disease

Prevention:

  • Always wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Avoid tanning booths  and sunlamps
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sun during the middle of the day
  • Keep a careful eye on any marks on your skin and any odd freckle patterns, new moles or existing moles growing or changing
  • Check your skin regularly

Click here for more detailed information on skin cancer and how to check yourself.

Celebrities who have suffered with skin cancer or melanoma include reggae legend Bob Marley, Melanie Griffith and singer Elizabeth Taylor.

Image attribution: Wikimedia:  File:Melanoma.jpg, File:Malignant melanoma (1) at thigh Case 01.jpg

Share


Tweet this
Share


Published September 01, 2009 by in Health Conditions
Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “Melanoma – the most dangerous skin cancer”

  1. Monique

    10. Apr, 2012

    It is unfortunate that there are tanning bed adverts on your site…

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mary

    20. Apr, 2010

    Check out this informative website about the true facts of what causes melanoma and it’s not the sun….contrary to publicized propaganda from drug cos. who would rather have you buy their sunscreen than benefit from the sun’s rays…

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/08/05/does-too-much-sun-really-cause-melanoma.aspx

    Reply to this comment
  3. Malignant Melanoma is a type of cancer which originates on skin. It can appear as a mole. It is even found in younger age bracket. It appears in the leg for females and for males, it is found on chest or back area. Those who have dark skin tone, are less likely to develop melanoma. Immediately diagnosing is very important, else it can worsen the situation. If anyone observes symptoms of it, should consult to doctor immediately.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Kit Cool » Blog Archive » ‘celebrities exposed’ on the web

    03. Sep, 2009

    [...] http://www.celebrities-with-diseases.com/health-conditions/melanoma-%E2%80%93-the-most-dangerous-ski…Always wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher when exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps; Avoid prolonged exposure to sun during the middle of the day; Keep a careful eye on any marks on your skin and any odd … Celebrities who have suffered with skin cancer or melanoma include reggae legend Bob Marley, US Senator John McCain and singer Elizabeth Taylor. Image attribution: Wikimedia: File:Melanoma.jpg, File:Malignant melanoma (1) at thigh Case 01. jpg … [...]

    Reply to this comment
  5. Fast Friday links « pixieredman

    03. Sep, 2009

    [...] http://www.celebrities-with-diseases.com/health-conditions/melanoma-%E2%80%93-the-most-dangerous-ski…Always wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher when exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps; Avoid prolonged exposure to sun during the middle of the day; Keep a careful eye on any marks on your skin and any odd … Celebrities who have suffered with skin cancer or melanoma include reggae legend Bob Marley, US Senator John McCain and singer Elizabeth Taylor. Image attribution: Wikimedia: File:Melanoma.jpg, File:Malignant melanoma (1) at thigh Case 01. jpg … [...]

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply