Cancer: melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. Melanoma has become increasingly controversial in recent years and is becoming increasingly common. It’s quite easy to prevent, but not everyone knows how. This article answers.

Definition

Melanoma is a rapidly growing malignant tumor. As with many types of cancer, rapid recognition is vital. The spread of the abnormal cells occurs very quickly. Melanoma can be treated well, provided it is recognized quickly. It is a form of skin cancer, which arises in the pigment cells of the skin. The melanoma can be located anywhere on the skin.

Characteristics

A melanoma can be recognized by a changing birthmark. As soon as an existing, quiet mole shows one of the following symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor immediately.

  • Changes in size (often increases in size, in some cases decreases)
  • Changes shape
  • Changes color (often black or fiery red)
  • A lot of it gets itchy
  • Occasionally stitches in the birthmark can be felt
  • The birthmark is bleeding
  • Crusting on the birthmark
  • The birthmark continues to lie on top of the skin

 

Prevent

In principle, melanoma can be prevented. Of course, it cannot be ruled out, but with a number of precautions the risk can be significantly limited. The most important thing is that one does not burn. Bandaging the skin causes melanoma. A number of precautions:

  • Avoid the sun when it shines the brightest
  • Apply sunscreen about every half hour
  • Don’t go to the tanning bed
  • Read the package leaflet of medicines. Various medications, such as antibiotics, increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Check the skin regularly for changes and keep an eye on the moles

 

Therapy

As mentioned, melanoma is easily treatable if recognized early. Nearly 95% of all treated melanoma patients are free of the disease after treatment. Many different types of treatments are possible. Which treatment is chosen depends on the size and location of the melanoma on the body. The most common types of treatments are the following:

  • Surgical removal of the tumor. This is by far the most common treatment for an existing tumor. The doctor cuts away part of the infected skin. In the case of an abnormal birthmark where there is a risk of melanoma or if the general practitioner or treating physician has doubts, the birthmark is surgically removed. The birthmark including part of the surrounding skin is removed and examined. It is often only afterwards that it can be determined whether there was actually a melanoma.
  • Irradiating the skin
  • Chemotherapy

 

Life expectancy

If metastases can be prevented from developing, melanoma can be effectively removed. In the majority of patients treated, the skin disease no longer occurs and is therefore cured. If this is not the case, i.e. if metastases have occurred, the cancer is generally incurable. Life expectancy is then approximately 6 to 12 months.

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