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Melanoma – Type of skin cancer

Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin. Melanoma usually occurs in adults, but it may occasionally be found in children and adolescents. Melanoma may also be called cutaneous melanoma or malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the rarest, but most virulent, form of skin cancer.

– A flat or raised growth of black or brown color, often mixed with blue, red, or white parts, from 6 mm to few cm in size, may appear anywhere on the skin, in men mostly on the trunk, in women on the back and legs, and parts of the skin that are usually hidden from the sun, but were exposed to intense sunlight for short periods.
– Melanoma may show one or more of typical ABCDE characteristics: Asymmetry: one part of the tumor differs from other parts; Border of the tumor is irregular; Color: tumor may be of different colors, often several colors are present in one tumor; Diameter above 6 mm (in most cases), Evolving: lesion growths and changes color and appearance with time.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma Subtypes :
– Superficially spreading melanoma grows relatively slowly.
– Nodular melanoma grows rapidly – weeks to months. It tends to ulcerate and bleed.
– Acral lentiginous melanoma appears in dark skinned people (Afro-American, Asian, and Hispanic), mostly on their palms, soles, and under nails.
– Lentigo maligna melanoma. A macule grows slowly (years) as a patch, over 1-3 cm in size. It does not spread to other organs.

Treatment :
– Chemotherapy is often used to treat melanoma that has returned or spread.
– Medications such as interferon or interleukin, which boost the immune system to fight the cancer, may be useful in addition to chemotherapy and surgery. This kind of treatment is called immunotherapy. However, interferon has many side effects and can be difficult to tolerate.
– Radiation treatments may be used to relieve pain or discomfort caused by cancer that has spread.
– Cancer that has spread elsewhere in the body is sometimes removed with surgery to relieve pain or discomfort.

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