All About Melanoma and Treating the Disease
One of the most common types of cancer that affects millions of Americans each year is melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer. It develops in cells called melanocytes that produce melanin, which is responsible for giving the skin its color. Melanoma can develop not only on your skin but in the eyes and even internal organs in rare instances.
Taking a look at melanoma pictures is important if you have any kind of outstanding mole or moles anywhere on your body. You are more at risk for developing the skin cancer if you have too much exposure to the sun. An over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation occurring naturally or even from tanning beds or lamps can increase your risk for skin cancer and especially melanoma. However, if you reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays, you have a better chance of decreasing your risk of getting the disease.
Generally, individuals who are more at risk are women under the age of 40. This is because this group of people is more likely to be outdoors catching the sun’s rays with either no or too little protection from a good SPF sunblock. Likewise, young women are also more likely to sit in tanning beds more often than other groups of people, and without protecting their skin with sunblock. There is a scarily rising trend in melanoma developing among this group, but knowing the warning signs of the disease can help to protect and prevent it from developing. In addition, if you know what to expect if you are diagnosed early in melanoma staging, you can better fight it and become cancer free.
Melanoma symptoms depend largely on the melanoma staging phase. If you believe you have the disease or have already been diagnosed with it, looking at melanoma pictures can help you to get a better perspective. It is important to remember that generally any area of the body can be affected by the cancer. It can develop anywhere on areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as your face, arms, legs and back. At the same time, it can also develop in other areas not typically exposed to the sun, including the palms of your hands, soles of the feet and even in the nail beds. This type of melanoma is usually common in individuals with dark skin and often go unnoticed.
Some of the common early melanoma symptoms include a mole that changes in look, shape, size or color and a new growth with pigment that looks unusual suddenly developing on your skin.
However, it’s important to note that melanoma doesn’t always manifest in the form of a mole. It can appear on skin that looks completely normal as well. While most people have 10 to 45 moles, it’s important to keep an eye on your moles for any unusual changes.
Metastatic melanoma is generally stage four of the disease, which is when it has advanced and spread to other areas of the body. Frequently, during this stage, the cancer has spread to the liver, lungs, lymph nodes, tissue under the skin and even the brain. Although metastatic melanoma cannot be cured in most instances, there are supportive melanoma treatment options that can help a person to live longer.
To be diagnosed with melanoma, you must undergo skin cancer screening. There are two options for diagnosis. One is that you use an exam to be done at home on your own. The other is to see a professional for an official diagnosis. The latter is the safer option if you believe you may have the disease. A doctor will inspect you from head to toe and closely exam your skin. However, it is recommended to regularly inspect your own skin to check for any abnormal moles or growths.
Melanoma treatment depends on the stage your cancer is in, as well as the size of it. Your preferences also depend on the type of treatment you receive. In the earliest stages of the illness, the melanoma is removed via surgery. In some cases, in the earliest stage, it may be completely removed through a biopsy and you may not need any additional treatment.
If your skin cancer has gone beyond the initial stage, it may be necessary to undergo surgery, particularly if it has spread to the lymph nodes. The other treatments involved are chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy and targeted therapy. With the lattermost type of treatment, drugs are administered for treating advanced melanoma. It is important to have your cancer cells tested to determine whether the medications might be helpful toward your treatment.
If you suspect you may have melanoma or any other type of skin cancer, time is of the essence. See a doctor immediately so that you have the best possible chance of successful treatment and remission of your cancer.