Skin cancers like melanoma continue to pose a serious health risk to the public. You can protect your health and act quickly to minimize damages to your health by learning what melanoma is and how doctors treat this form of skin cancer.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a cancer that afflicts the skin cells that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigmentation or color of your skin. When the cells that produce melanin are afflicted with this cancer, they can cause a tumor or mole to grow on the surface of your skin.
Melanoma is considered to be one of the most serious forms of skin cancer. However, it is also one of the most treatable as long as it is diagnosed early. It is capable of spreading to other organs like the brain and intestines, which is why people are cautioned to know the symptoms of melanoma and to seek medical attention if they experience any of these warning signs.
Doctors believe that melanoma is caused by exposure to UV light from the sun as well as tanning beds and tanning lamps. Women with fair skin, blonde or red hair, and light complexions under the age of 40 are most at risk of this cancer.
Melanoma presents itself with tell-tale symptoms that warrant immediate medical attention. Some of the most common warning signs of melanoma include:
- A sore that itches, bleeds, and will not heal
- A mole that changes shape, color, and size
- A bruise that does not fade or heal
- A bruise that shows up as a black or brown streak under the finger or toenails
Melanoma can be found on any part of your body. However, most patients develop it on their faces, necks, ears, upper backs, legs, and arms.
Melanoma can be treated easily if it is diagnosed early. Even if it is diagnosed after it has spread, it can still be treated with medical procedures to halt its progress and minimize the damage to the patient’s health.
Doctors today these common methods to treat melanoma:
- Radiation therapy
- Medication or targeted therapy
- Surgery to remove the tumor
The medical treatment that you will receive will depend on the severity and progress of your melanoma.