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Key Information About Melanoma

Updated on May 29, 2020
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Srikanth strongly believes that prevention is better than cure. He is of the opinion that awareness is a key to prevent diseases.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which occurs when melanocytes mutate and begin to divide uncontrollably.

Around 132,000 new cases of this deadly disease are diagnosed worldwide each year, according to WHO.

Though melanoma accounts for only about 1 percent of skin cancers, it is responsible for more than 90 percent of skin cancer-related deaths.

Melanoma Patient's Skin

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Wikimedia Commons | Source

Causes

Melanoma is caused by a combination of factors, including environmental and genetic factors.

In most cases, this dreaded disease is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

Primary melanoma patients with lower T-cell fraction are 2.5 times more likely to have cancer metastasize than patients with higher T-cell fraction.

Patients with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease are often placed on biologic therapies for treatment.

Questions have been asked about whether long-term biologic treatment, versus conventional systemic therapy treatment, could increase the risk for melanoma.

A systematic review and meta-analysis sought to identify the risk and concluded that biologics may—or may not—increase this risk.

Tanning Bed

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Wikimedia Commons | Source

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Symptoms

In most patients, melanoma begins with a small, pigmented spot on the skin that starts to change.

Symptoms include unusual moles, lumps, sores, markings, blemishes, or changes in the way an area of the skin looks or feels.

The only way to be sure if a mole is melanoma is to have it examined by a dermatologist.

Diagnosis

Dermatoscopy, which refers to the examination of the skin using skin surface microscopy, is used to diagnose melanoma.

Dermatoscope

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Wikimedia Commons | Source

Treatment

Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy are some treatment options for melanoma.

Being able to quickly detect and properly manage adverse events that arise in patients with melanoma who are receiving immunotherapy is key to improving their experience with treatment.

Understanding how each patient may require different therapies will be important as we personalize melanoma treatment.

— Joshua Arbesman, MD, Dermatologist

Prevention

Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. Never use tanning bed. Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm.

Research

An inhibitor of the enzyme known as p38α kinase (p38) reduced the spread of melanoma in a mouse model, significantly prolonging survival time.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Srikanth R

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