Cancer » Melanoma Cancer
Melanoma is the most commonly occurring skin cancer and is responsible for maximum number of deaths caused due to any type of skin cancer worldwide. Almost 70-75% of deaths due to skin cancer are caused due to the cancer of melanoma.
The disease in detail
Melanoma cancer occurs mainly in the people with white skin and is rarely found in dark colored people. The cancer originates mainly in the melanocytes. Melanocytes are a kind of pigment cells found mainly in the skin and their main function is to maintain color of the skin. They are also responsible for production of melanin. The malignant or cancerous cells may develop in any area of the skin and spread to other parts gradually.
Males suffering from the cancer usually find the abnormalities in their skin present on the surface of head, between hips or shoulders or over the neck surface. Women suffer the skin abnormality usually between the hips or shoulders or on the lower part of legs. The disease is rarely detected in dark people and originates mostly in the areas under the toenails or fingernails, on the soles of their feet or on the palms of hands.
Apart from the skin, melanocytes are also found in the eyes and bowel. Hence, the cancer of melanoma can be primary or secondary in nature. Primary cancer develops mainly in the melanocytes present in the skin. Secondary cancer develops in areas other than skin where melanocytes cells are present. In any case, the cancer may spread very rapidly and affect the overall body functioning.
Melanoma arising in the skin is also known as cutaneous melanoma. Ocular or intraocular melanoma is the type of melanoma originating in the eyes. Melanoma may develop either in the dermis or epidermis. Dermis is the inner layer of the skin while epidermis is the outer layer. In most of the cases, the victim himself is the first one to detect the abnormality, as the change in color of the skin is the primary symptom of the disease.
Melanoma cancer develops mainly due to an abnormal and uncontrollable behavior of melanocytes. The cancerous or malignant cells invade the healthy tissues and stop them from carrying out their regular function. The main function of tissues is to supply oxygen and blood to various parts and the presence of cancerous cells obstruct this process. This severely affects the normal cell-growth process and paves way for the growth of tumor cells. The cancerous or malignant cells cause cells to divide and grow rapidly and prevent them from dying naturally. This leads to accumulation of excess but unnecessary cells in the infected area and a tumor is formed. The tumor may also spread to different areas through the bloodstream or lymph nodes and is necessary to cured right in the initial stages.
Tumors can be benign or cancerous. Cancerous tumors are formed by malignant cells and are very dangerous for survival of healthy tissues and cells. They have a tendency to spread to different parts of the body and may recur even if treated previously. Benign tumors are usually harmless to tissues and adjacent cells and restrict themselves to a particular area. They do not have tendency to spread and the chance of their recurrence is almost negligible. They can be cured by surgery.
Mole is a type of benign tumor developing in melanocytes and should not be confused with the cancerous tumor. But it may lead to the cancer of melanoma if left untreated for a long time. Spitz nevus is another kind of benign tumor generally confused with the cancerous tumor and is removed by surgery immediately after its detection. This reduces the risk of further development of cancerous tumors. You must remember that the cancerous tumors may behave as benign in the initial stages and start with the destruction once the intensity of the disease increases. Hence, no tumor should be ignored or taken lightly.
Melanoma cancer - General awareness
The cancer is one of the most common and severest forms of skin cancer. Hence, understanding the main causes and symptoms of the disease becomes necessary to protect yourself from being a victim of this cancer. Exposure to sunlight is the primary and most important cause of the disease. Sunlight contains the harmful Ultra Violet (UV) rays, which are harmful for skin as well as eyes. The rays play a negative role of damaging skin tissues and weaken them considerably. This makes the tissues more prone to the disease as their ability to resist cancerous cells decreases considerably.
Sunburns, especially during adulthood, make the person more prone to the cancer of melanoma. Risk of getting infected by this cancer increases with age and the amount of sun exposure the person undergoes. Hence, higher cases of the cancer of melanoma are detected in the areas having strong exposure to sunlight as compared to the areas with medium or low exposure. People who have undergone treatment for melanoma in the past are highly prone to the disease.
Personal history and family history plays an important role in occurrence of the cancerous cells. Also, people consuming certain kinds of medicines like antidepressants or antibiotics on a regular basis are at a slightly higher risk of being a victim of the cancer of melanoma. A strong immunity system is necessary to prevent the cancerous cells from developing in your body. Inclusion of fruits, salad and vegetables in regular diet and daily exercise can minimize the risk of infection considerably.
Melanoma cancer is curable if diagnosed and treated in early stages. Biopsy, X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan), computed tomography scan (CT scan) and endoscopy are some of the common techniques used to examine the internal body and understand the nature and severity of the disease. In many cases, surgery is the most common treatment to remove the tumors. Radiation therapy and chemical therapy is recommended for patients suffering from advanced stage of the disease and depends upon their sustainability to the treatment to be undergone.