Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that can be deadly if not caught and treated early. Fortunately, when it is caught early, it is very curable. What should every person know about the disease today? Why is it important to see a doctor quickly?
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that spreads rapidly and can make its way into any organ in the body. It originates in melanocytes in the body, which are the cells responsible for producing melanin. Melanomas are typically black or brown, but some actually show up as red, pink, purple, or flesh-colored marks on the body. Only 30 percent of melanomas originate from an existing mole, but that doesn’t mean a person should put off mole removal utah.
When to See a Doctor?
Any change in the skin calls for a visit to the doctor. Melanomas grow quickly, and putting off this visit could put the person’s life at risk. In fact, a person should see the doctor before they have any concerns. This allows the doctor to have a baseline. They can measure any changes in the skin against this baseline and take quick action. Fortunately, melanomas come with a 99 percent cure rate if they are addressed early on.
If the two sides of a blemish appear different or the edges of the mole are jagged, make an appointment with a doctor. Do the same if the color of the blemish is uneven or if the mole’s diameter is bigger than the end of a pencil. When a mole changes in any way, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Where Do Melanomas Appear?
Certain parts of the body are more at risk of melanomas. While melanomas can appear anywhere on the body, including on the eyes, they tend to show up in specific places. Men need to pay close attention to melanomas on the trunk. For women, the legs are where melanomas often appear.
A doctor will remove any suspicious mole or spot on the body and examine it under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. If they are, tests must be done to see if the cancer has spread and how deep. This determines the treatment. Tests the doctor might order include a sentinel lymph node biopsy, a CT scan, an MRI scan, or a PET scan. Blood work may also be done.
The results of the test guide the doctor when developing a treatment plan. Surgery is typically the first step of any treatment plan. The doctor removes the cancer and some of the surrounding skin. This is often done in the doctor’s office. The doctor might feel other steps must be taken, however, to address the cancer.
A lymphadenectomy might be done to remove lymph nodes near the original cancer site to stop the spread of the cancer to other body parts. A metastasectomy is a procedure done to remove melanoma from organs, and the doctor might use targeted cancer therapy to attack cancer cells. Other treatment options include radiation and immunotherapy. Clinical trials may be another option offered by the doctor.
Nobody wants to learn they have melanoma. However, when caught early, melanoma is easily treatable, and the person has an excellent chance of survival. See a doctor any time there is a change in the skin, as early action leads to the best outcomes.