Melanoma Skin Cancer

Wednesday, April 30th 2014. | Cancer
Melanoma Skin Cancers
Melanoma Skin Cancers
Melanoma Skin Cancer is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the dark pigment, melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin. Other names for this cancer include malignant melanoma and cutaneous melanoma.
Melanomas can occur anywhere on the skin, but they are more likely to start in certain locations. The legs are the most common site in women. The neck and face are other common sites. The chest and back is the most common site in men.
The symptoms of melanoma skin cancer :
  1. Getting bigger
  2. Itching or painful
  3. Changing colour – getting darker, becoming patchy or multi shaded
  4. Looking inflamed
  5. Changing shape, particularly getting an irregular edge
  6. Bleeding or becoming crusty
  7. Loss of symmetry – the two halves of your mole do not look the same
Research suggests that moles with 3 or more different shades of brown or black are particularly likely to be melanoma.
Staging of melanoma skin cancer
In New Zealand most melanoma specialists refer to the AJCC (American Joint Committee of Cancer) cutaneous melanoma staging guidelines when staging a melanoma.
  • Stage 0 – in situ melanoma (only occuring in the top layer of the skin)
  • Stage 1 – thin melanoma: less than or equal to 2mm in thickness (or less than or equal to 1mm in thickness if ulceration is present)
  • Stage 2 – thick melanoma: greater than 2mm in thickness (or greater than 1mm in thickness if ulceration is present)
  • Stage 3 – melanoma spread to involve local lymph nodes
  • Stage 4 – distant metastases have been detected.
Treatment of melanoma skin cancer
  • Chemotherapy – the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells
  • Radiotherapy – the use of radioactive beams to destroy cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy – the use of medications that stimulate the body’s immune system to fight the cancer cells.
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