Melanoma- The Most Feared Skin Cancer
Cancers are one of the deadliest diseases in the world and remain one of the largest growing diseases too. While cures have been found for early stage cancers, advanced stage cancer treatments are still a hit and miss with most people eventually dying premature deaths either due to cancer recurrence or due to the problems caused due to the intensive treatment done to rid the body of the cancer cells. Cancer can affect any part or organ of the body with liver cancer, throat cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer all frequently occurring types of cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer and Why Melanoma is the Most Dangerous
There are basically three main types of skin cancer. These include:
Basal cell Cancer.
This type of cancer is the most frequently occurring with around 75% of skin cancers being basal cell cancer. Basal cell cancers grow very slowly and if they are detected quickly, they can be totally eliminated. Even advanced cases of Basal cell cancer remain very treatable.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
They are the second most frequently occurring skin cancer and while they are slightly more dangerous than basal cell cancer, they are also treatable to a very large extent. This cancer impacts the outer most layer of human skin.
Melanoma is the third type of skin cancer and while it isn’t as naturally occurring as the other two, it remains extremely dangerous. These cancer cells can spread very quickly to other parts of the body and thus, if melanoma isn’t diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of survival drop drastically. This is what makes melanoma the most serious skin cancer.
Dermoscopy is a revolutionary innocuous hint that improves the diagnostic accuracy. In addition, dermoscopy can tell if you have skin cancer regardless of the cancer type.
Types of Melanoma
There are two types of melanoma too with the types classified on the basis of the symptoms they show.
Mole Related Melanomas
Mole related melanomas, as their name suggests, show up in the region where there is a mole on the skin. They are easier to detect as compared to the other type as these melanomas are accompanied with drastic changes in the shape, size and color of the mole. They are also considered less deadly 75% of the patients at least surviving ten years or more after diagnosis. They are also less common with only 20-30% of the melanomas being mole related.
De Nova Melanoma (Non-Mole related)
De Nova Melanoma is considered the more dangerous of the two as they are difficult to diagnose. This is because this deadly melanoma may not always show up as a mole at all. This cancer shows up very late on the surface of the skin. Even when it does show up, people mistake it with common itches or a skin infection and don’t visit the doctor and thus, delay the diagnosis of the disease. According to research, around 60% of the patients survive de nova melanoma for more than ten years after they get diagnosed.
Symptoms of Melanoma
There are a number of signs which can warn you about melanoma but it requires you to keep a close watch on your body and any signs on your skin which shouldn’t be there. The symptoms or signs which might indicate melanoma include:
|A regular mole on the body suddenly starts to get bigger in size or starts to change shape or starts to change its color or starts to bleed or gets extremely itchy.|
|In de nova melanoma (mentioned later), there might be no mole that would show any change. It might just be that there would be a shape visible on your skin which resembles a mole.|
The main differences between a normal mole and a sign of melanoma are:
Melanomas are asymmetrical while moles are usually symmetrical.
Melanomas don’t have a defined border and have a very irregular shape.
Melanomas have a very different texture from normal moles with melanomas usually being a combination of more than one color.
Melanomas are bigger in size than your average mole
Prevention Techniques for Melanoma
Major cause of skin cancers in general and melanoma in particular is exposure to sun. Statistics have shown that melanoma rates have risen with the trend for sun baths and sun tans. The ultra violet rays of the sun can hurt the skin and while the body has the capability of overturning the damage, frequent sun exposure can leave the cells beyond repair and become ripe for cancer cells. It is for this reason that dermatologists recommend to avoid tanning and to avoid sun baths at peak times like from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dermatologists also recommend the use of good quality sun screen (broad spectrum) in order to keep your skin safe. Having a regular skin check with a dermatologist every year can also help with both prevention and early diagnosis.
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