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Malignant Melanoma

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Home > Cancer Treatment > Types Of Cancer > Malignant Melanoma

Overview


What is MALIGNANT MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)?
MALIGNANT MELANOMA Risk Factors
Causes of MALIGNANT MELANOMA
Symptoms of MALIGNANT MELANOMA
The ABCDs of MELANOMA
Diagnosis of MALIGNANT MELANOMA
Treatment of MALIGNANT MELANOMA in India


WHAT IS MALIGNANT MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)?


MELANOMA is a cancer of the pigment producing cells in the skin, known as melanocytes. Cancer is a condition in which one type of cell grows without limit in a disorganized fashion, disrupting and replacing normal tissues and their functions, much like weeds overgrowing a garden. Normal melanocytes reside in the outer layer of the skin and produce a brown pigment called melanin, which is responsible for skin color. MELANOMA occurs when melanocytes become cancerous, grow, and invade other tissues.


MELANOMA begins on the surface of the skin where it is easy to see and treat. If time given to grow, MELANOMA can grow down into the skin, ultimately reaching the blood and lymphatic vessels, and spread around the body (metastasize), causing life-threatening illness. It is curable when detected early, but can be fatal if allowed to progress and spread. The goal is to detect MELANOMA early when it is still on the surface of the skin.
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CAUSES OF MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)

It is not certain how all cases of MELANOMA develop. However, it is clear that excessive sun exposure, especially severe blistering sunburns early in life, can promote MELANOMA development. There is evidence that ultraviolet radiation used in indoor tanning equipment may cause MELANOMA. The risk for developing MELANOMA may also be inherited. Anyone can get MELANOMA, but fair-skinned sun-sensitive people are at a higher risk. Since ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major culprit, people who tan poorly, or burn easily are at the greatest risk.
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The following factors help to identify those at risk for MELANOMA : -

  • Fair skin.
  • A history of sunburns.
  • More than 50 moles.
  • Atypical moles.
  • Close relative who have had MELANOMA.


Anyone can develop MELANOMA, but people with one or more of the risk factors are more likely to do so. Periodic skin examinations by a dermatologist can truly be life saving.

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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)

MELANOMA can occur anywhere on the skin or the nails, even in places not directly exposed to the sun like the eyes, mucous membranes (mouth and genitals), or internal organs. It is most common on the backs of men and legs of women. MELANOMA is usually brown or black in color, but sometimes, though rare, may be red, skin-colored, or white. It can arise from a pre-existing mole, or appear on previously normal skin. MELANOMAs grow slowly; therefore, growing, changing, or irregular lesions should arouse suspicion.

When looking at a spot on the skin it is helpful to apply the ABCD rules : -

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The ABCDs of MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)
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Asymmetry : -Meaning one half is different than another. Draw an imaginary line through the middle of the lesion, either up and down or side to side. Are the two sides the same size and shape (symmetric)? MELANOMAs are usually asymmetric.
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Border Irregularity : - The edge, or border, of MELANOMAs are usually ragged, notched, or blurred.
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Color : -Benign moles can be any color, but a single mole will be only one color. MELANOMA often has a variety of hues and colors within the same lesion.
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Diameter : -MELANOMAs continue to grow, while moles remain small. Is the lesion larger than a pencil eraser (6mm)?

OTHER SUSPICIOUS CHANGES IN A MOLE MAY INCLUDE : -

  1. SCALINESS.
  2. ITCHING.
  3. CHANGES IN TEXTUR FOR INSTANCE BECOME HARD OR LUMPY.
  4. SPREADING OF PIGMENT FROM THE MOLE INTO THE SURROUNDING SKIN.
  5. OOZING OR BLEEDING.
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DIAGNOSIS OF MELANOMA (Skin Cancer)
A skin biopsy is usually necessary to confirm a MELANOMA diagnosis. In this procedure, the mole is removed and checked under a microscope. A skin biopsy often requires a local aesthetics.

A complete physical and ophthalmological (eye) examination should be done. Diagnostic imaging techniques such as x-ray, computed tomography (CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET scan) and radio-isotopic bone or organ scan may be included.
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TREATMENT OF MELANOMA (Skin Cancer) in India

The best treatment is early detection. A quick look from a dermatologist can confirm whether a lesion is suspicious for MELANOMA. If so, the next step is to perform a biopsy. This involves numbing the area and removing the entire lesion, or a portion, which can be examined under a microscope. This simple, quick procedure is performed in the dermatologist's office. If a MELANOMA is detected, treatment is guided by how deep the MELANOMA penetrates the skin.
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Treatment for MELANOMA begins with the surgical removal of the MELANOMA and some normal-looking skin around the growth. Removal of the normal-looking skin is known as taking margins, and is done to be sure no MELANOMA is left behind. Early MELANOMA limited to the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) is known as MELANOMA in situ (in place), and simple surgical removal produces virtually a 100 percent cure rate. If left untreated, the MELANOMA grows deeper in the skin and is more likely to produce a life-threatening situation.

Deeper MELANOMAs are more likely to reach a blood vessel or lymphatic channel and spread. When a MELANOMA spreads, it goes to the lymph nodes first. The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, a series of vessels throughout the body that are responsible for cleaning the body's tissue. Different lymph nodes serve different parts of the body. It may be possible to find the MELANOMA in the lymph node before it goes any further. A procedure called a sentinel lymph node biopsy is a way of identifying and testing the first lymph node into which the MELANOMA drains. The decision to perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy is based on how deep the MELANOMA is in the skin, and how likely it is to have spread.

An open lymph node biopsy may also be done. This is the surgical removal of the lymph nodes which are examined under a microscope.



The list of of world class Cancer hospitals in India is as follows : -


Apollo Hospital Chennai Apollo Hospital, Chennai, India
Apollo Specialty Hospital Chennai Apollo Specialty Hospital, Chennai, India
Apollo Hospitals Bangalore Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, India
Apollo Hospitals Delhi Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, India
Fortis Hospital Noida, India Fortis Hospital, Noida, India
Narayana Cancer Hospital, Bangalore, India Narayana Cancer Hospital, Bangalore, India
Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon ( Delhi ) , India Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon ( Delhi ) , India


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