The skin serves as an important defense mechanism against infections because it blocks disease-causing microorganisms from entering the body. It is the largest body organ that serves many other important functions like regulating body temperature and producing vitamin D.
The skin is affected by many infections and malignancies like Melanomas, however. Prevention and frequent screening of skin cancer is key to early diagnosis. Treatment for skin cancer in Glen Allen depends on the type of cancer and the stage of cancer.
What Are the Predisposing Factors for Melanoma?
Predisposing factors for Melanoma include:
- Family history of Melanoma
- Excess exposure to UV light
- Immunocompromised states
- Having many atypical moles
- It’s more common in light-skinned persons
- Having a history of blistering sunburns during childhood
- It has been reported in people with red hair and freckles
What Are the Possible Outcomes and Complications of Melanoma?
Treatment of Melanoma can be either surgical or medication-based depending on the stage and subtype. The treatment outcomes will depend on patient factors like age, underlying medical conditions, and immune status. It also depends on the tumor size, location, and the presence of metastasis.
Some of the complications of Melanoma include: metastases to distant organs like the brain, wound infection, scarring after excision, psychological trauma, recurrent tumors, and skin necrosis.
How Can You Differentiate A Mole from Melanoma?
- Moles have regular borders while Melanoma has irregular ones
- Moles have a uniform color while Melanoma has uneven color
- Melanomas present with spontaneous bleeding while moles do not bleed
- Moles are symmetrical while Melanomas are asymmetrical
- Melanomas change their shapes and colors while moles remain the same
- Melanomas appear to be infected, they may be itchy
Melanomas can occur on any sun-exposed part of the skin like face, hands, or legs but it more commonly affects the sole of the foot. They are diagnosed through taking a detailed medical history, doing a physical examination, and taking a biopsy which is sent to the pathologist to find out the type and stage of cancer.
Is Melanoma Dangerous?
Melanoma is not a very common type of skin cancer but it is reported to be the deadliest type. Melanoma presents with early metastasis, unlike other cancers. The malignant melanoma cells spread to distant organs like the brain, lung, and kidney through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system.
Brain metastasis is likely to occur if the melanoma is located on the head, or upper body parts. Death occurs when the metastasis blocks the normal functioning of the important body organs. For instance, metastasis to the brainstem can inhibit important functions like breathing and regulation of heart rate.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that spreads very early in the course of the disease and therefore is very deadly. Early diagnosis is the key to having a good prognosis.
Diagnosis is made from history, physical examination, and skin biopsy. Treatment can be medical, surgical, or palliative depending on the stage of the cancer.