Malignant melanoma is a cancer which usually starts in the skin. It is one of the rarer types of skin cancer but causes the majority of skin cancer related deaths. It causes the greatest number of skin cancer-related deaths worldwide. Early detection of thin cutaneous melanoma is the best means of reducing mortality. Melanomas are divided into 4 main types. Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma. About 7 out of 10 (70%) are this type. Melanoma can also start in the mucous membranes of the mouth, in the eye or other places in the body where melanocytes are found. Nodular melanoma occurs most often on the chest or back. It is most commonly found in middle-aged people.
Lentigo maligna melanoma is most commonly found on the face, particularly in older people. It grows slowly and may take several years to develop. The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Melanomas are most common on areas exposed to the sun. Certain types of melanoma have worse prognoses but this is explained by their thickness. Local recurrences tend to behave similarly to a primary unless they are at the site of a wide local excision since these recurrences tend to indicate lymphatic invasion. Various chemotherapy agents are used. Radiation therapy is often used after surgical resection for patients with locally
Surgery – remove the melanoma and a ring of tissue around it. Chemotherapy – to kill cancer cells that have spread throughout the body.Radiation therapy – to kill cancer cells that may have spread beyond the tumor. Applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, every day. Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses. DTIC therapy is associated with a response rate of 15 to 25%, with only 5% of patients achieving a complete response. Only interferon alpha-2b has been shown to be effective in the adjuvant setting. Radioimmunotherapy of metastatic melanoma is currently under investigation. Randomized prospective studies show that 2-cm margins are appropriate for tumors of intermediate thickness.
Malignant Melanoma – Prevention and Treatment Tips
1. Applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, every day.
2. Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses.
3. Surgery remove the melanoma and a ring of tissue around it.
4. Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells that have spread throughout the body.
5. Radiation therapy – to kill cancer cells that may have spread beyond the tumor.
6. Laser treatment may be used to treat melanoma which has come back in the skin.
7. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and be aware of the intensity of the sun.
8. Ultraviolet radiation from sunbeds has a similarly damaging effect to intense sunlight.