One of the most serious but not common types of Cancer is Melanoma. It is serious because it often spreads. If you are exposed to the sun for a longer period of time, you are more prone to this type of cancer. The probability of Melanoma occurring is higher in women under 18 yrs. The most effective way to prevent this type of cancer is avoiding sunburn.
Know about melanoma:
A form of Cancer that usually arises when pigment-producing-cells which are called melanocytes mutate and becomes cancerous cells. Most pigment cells are found in skin but this type of cancer also occur in the eyes as well as other parts of the body. It has been found that this type of cancer is rare in people having the darker complexion. It is serious because it is more likely to spread or metastasize. Although, it can take place in any part of the body, certain areas are more prone to it. For example, in men, it mostly affects chest and the back whereas women’s legs are more vulnerable to it. Neck and face are other common areas.
What are the stages?
The stages of cancer tell that how far the cancerous cells have spread and what kind of treatment is suitable. There are five stages of melanoma as well:
Stage 0: In this stage, the cancerous cells are only in the outermost layer of the skin.
Stage 1: Here the cells are up to 2 mm thick but they do not spread to other parts like lymph nodes, or other areas as well. It may or may not be ulcerated.
Stage 2: With this stage, the condition starts worsening. The cells start spreading to other parts and it may also be ulcerated.
Stage 3: Here, cancer may have spread to other parts like lymph nodes but not to distant areas.
Stage 4: This is the last stage of melanoma. Here, the cancerous cells have spread to lymph nodes or organs such as lungs, liver etc.
How is it caused?
There are some causes due to which a person can develop melanoma cancer. They are:
- The tendency to develop freckles after being exposed to the sun.
- A high number of moles.
- Red or light-colored hair
- Family history of melanoma
- Having an organ transplant
According to the study by World Health Organisation, around 60,000 deaths occur each year due to the ultraviolet radiations released by the sun. Avoiding overexposure to the sun can certainly minimize the chances of a person developing cancer.
Know some symptoms:
Similarly like other types of cancer, melanoma is also hard to detect. This is why it is necessary to check the skin actively for any signs of change.
The key indicator is the change in the skin color or change in the shape, size or color of the moles.
Some symptoms include:
- A skin sore that remains unhealed.
- A painful, bloody or itchy sore
- Abnormal changes in skin
- A flat red spot that seems scaly
What are the treatments available?
The treatment of this type of cancer is also similar to other types of cancer but in this case, it is easier to access cancer and remove it completely. The most common treatment is Surgery which involves the removal of the damaged tissue along with some healthy ones with it. It covers a larger area, skin grafting is necessary in that case.
Other treatments include:
- Chemotherapy: High dose medications are done to cure cancer. Sometimes, it is given prior to surgery as well to get rid of the remaining harmful tissues.
- Photodynamic Therapy: It includes a combination of light and drug. Radiation is also used to treat the cancerous cells.
How can it be prevented?
It could be prevented by keeping certain things in mind:
- Avoid Sunburn
- Using sunscreen with minimum sun protection factor(SPF) of 15
- Wearing suitable clothes that protect the sun’s rays
- Keeping kids out of direct sunlight.