Melanoma is the other name of skin cancer, which occurs mostly in Caucasians living in northwestern and northern regions of Europe. These are sunny climatic regions. The ultraviolet radiations are absorbed by the skin cell DNA, leading to its damage. The two adjacent pyrimidine bases join and form the CPD, which can be cytosine-cytosine, thymine-thymine or cytosine-thymine dimers. A person is likely to suffer from Melanoma if they live in countries like Australia and New Zealand or above geographic belt and is using Tanning bed well before 30 years of age. Tanning beds are considered to be carcinogenic and a big cause of Melanoma. The dark pigment or the melanin is responsible for the change in color of the kind and is formed by melanocytes. Melanoma can be in any part of the body that has melanocytes. In the early stages Melanoma is small and thin, and the tumor is removed fully, the patients have a maximum chance of surviving. Five-year Survival rates in the US suggests 91% chance of success 75%* percent of deaths due to skin cancer is due to Melanoma though it is the rarest form of Skin Cancer.
Melanoma occurs mostly in the legs of women and back in men. During early stages, Melanoma leads to change color of existing moles. New lumps are seen in any part of the skin in case of Nodular melanoma, the most deadly form of this disease. In later stages, the moles might itch, ulcerate or even bleed.
Early symptoms of Melanoma
- Irregular borders
- Variegated colors
- Size up to 6mm in diameter
- Keeps on evolving in various parts of skins as time passes.
- Evaluated over the normal skin surface
- Quite hard and firm
- Growing all the time.
Some paraneoplastic symptoms are found due to metastasis Melanoma. The patients might suffer from loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, and nausea. Brain metastasis is most common. However, this can spread to bones, lymph nodes, abdomen and liver as well.
Scientists and doctors have cited two main causes of melanoma.
- UV radiations: The ultraviolet radiations are the biggest cause of Melanoma. The person using the tanning bed well before the age of 30 has higher chances of suffering from Melanoma. The tanning beds have been considered as carcinogenic by WHO as they emit lots of UVA and UVB leading to Melanoma.
- And the genetic mutations: Some genes have been identified to increase the chances of being affected by Melanoma. Hence, if any, a family member has been diagnosed to have these genes like MC1R then the chances are higher as the genes like MC1R can directly be inherited from them since birth.
Melanoma is usually diagnosed through visual diagnosis or ABCDE and EFG.
- ABCDE stands for Asymmetric, Borders, Color, Diameter, and Enlarging. The doctors check for ABCDE in modes and refers a treatment for melanoma immediately on finding any such symptoms in moles found on the skin.
- The nodular melanoma is marked by EFG that is an abbreviation for Elevated, firm and growing.
The treatment is being carried out differently in different stages. Various treatment methods involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy as well as immunotherapy. The clinical diagnosis is being confirmed through a skin biopsy. On the confirmation, the doctor will refer to any of the above treatments depending upon the stage of the melanoma.