Malignant Melanoma and You

What it is and who is vulnerable?

Malignant Melanoma is a very aggressive and dangerous type of cancer that develops in the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes.

Melanomas typically occur in the skin.

If left untreated, Melanoma starts to invade into the skin. When reaching the bloodstream or the lymphatic system, I may spread to other parts of the body and often causes death.

Estimates for the incidents of Melanomas in the USA for 2018 are:

Over 91,000 new melanomas will be diagnosed. 55 thousand in men and 3,300 in women.

9300 people are expected to die of melanoma. 5900 men and 3300 women

The risk of men suffering and incidence of Melanoma is 1 in 35, the women rate is 1 in 54.

Diagnosis is by a physical examination and confirmed by a histopathological analysis of a biopsy.

Girl having arm checked for any issues.

Early stage melanoma has an overall survival rate of nearly 100%, while metastatic melanoma can be rapidly fatal.

The incidence of melanoma is rising faster than that of any other malignancy, and it is now the sixth most common cancer in the UK.

Treatment options

There are many treatment options available depending on the stage of melanoma. The most common treatment for localized melanoma is surgery, and in the majority of cases, this is the only treatment required.

More advanced cases of melanoma where cancer has spread to other parts of the body may require treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted molecular therapy.

Surgery

Surgical equipment

An early stage of melanoma may only require a simple biopsy to rid the body of the timer by excising it. A wide excision may be required to reduce the risk.

For later stage melanoma, surgery is used as a diagnostic tool to assess how far cancer has spread.

Patients may require more invasive surgery to remove lymph nodes.

Lymph Node Dissection

Melanoma that has spread to sentinel nodes in the regional node groups in the armpit, Neck or groin may linger before spreading to organs. In these cases, melanoma can sometimes be cured with a surgery called a regional lymph node clearance that removes all the lymph nodes in the invaded area.

The three types of regional lymph node clearance: axillary, neck and groin.

Surgery can be very invasive and will require post-surgery fluid draining protocols.

Reconstructive Surgery

Melanoma surgery can create significant scarring of the skin or even altered bodily function such as damaged nerves or loss of movement. Highly skilled plastic surgeons perform reconstructive surgery such as skin grafts and flap repairs.