Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that arises when the pigment-producing cells in the skin become cancerous. It is slightly more common in females than males. It is the 5th most common cancer in males and 6th most common in females.

Risk Factors

  • Increasing age
  • Exposure to UV light
  • Fair-skinned people with freckles or burns
  • Family history
  • History of other cancers
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum condition

Types

  • Superficial spreading
  • Nodular
  • Lentigo maligna
  • Acral lentiginous
  • Amelanotic

Stages

Stage 0 is called melanoma in-situ and it is characterized by cancer cells in the epidermis of the skin

Stage 1 means the cancer is contained in the skin, is less than 1mm in thickness, and is non-ulcerated

Stage 2 means the melanoma is less than or thicker than 4mm, is ulcerated but not spread to nearby lymph nodes

Stage 3 means that the cancer cells have spread into all the layers of the skin, to nearby lymph nodes and glands and is ulcerated

Stage 4 means that the melanoma is advanced and has spread to other parts of the body

Symptoms

Get your moles on the skin checked, if:

  • Getting bigger
  • Changing shape
  • Changes color
  • Loss of symmetry
  • Itching
  • Painful
  • Bleeding
  • Inflamed or swollen

Genetic Predisposition

Some families with high rates of melanoma have mutations in genes such as CDKN2A

Treatment

  • Melanoma vaccines
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Biological therapies
  • Chemotherapy