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Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most melanomas have a black or black-blue area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be black, abnormal, or "ugly looking."

Thinking of "ABCDE" can help you remember what to watch for:

  • Asymmetry - the shape of one half does not match the other
  • Border - the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular
  • Color - the color is uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan
  • Diameter - there is a change in size, usually an increase
  • Evolving - the mole has changed over the past few weeks or months

Surgery is the first treatment of all stages of melanoma. Other treatments include chemotherapy and radiation, biologic, and targeted therapies. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Melanoma

The following features are indicative of Melanoma:
  • change in an existing mole
  • pigmented or unusual-looking growth on the skin
It is possible that Melanoma shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Melanoma

The following are the most common causes of Melanoma:
  • exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Risk Factors for Melanoma

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Melanoma:
  • fair skin tone
  • history of sunburn
  • excessive ultraviolet light exposure
  • living closer to the equator or at a higher elevation
  • having many moles or unusual moles
  • history of melanoma
  • weakened immune system

Prevention of Melanoma

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Melanoma. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid sun during the middle of the day
  • use sunscreen for protection
  • wear protective clothing
  • avoid tanning lamps and beds

Occurrence of Melanoma

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Melanoma cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Melanoma most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-35 years

Common Gender

Melanoma can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Melanoma

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Melanoma:
  • Skin examination: Skin exam from head-to-toe
  • Biopsy: To diagnose the melanoma
  • Sentinel node biopsy: To determine whether the melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes

Doctor for Diagnosis of Melanoma

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Melanoma:
  • Dermatologist
  • Oncologist

Complications of Melanoma if untreated

It is not know if Melanoma causes complications if left untreated.

Procedures for Treatment of Melanoma

The following procedures are used to treat Melanoma:
  • Surgery: To remove the affected lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy: To destroy cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy: To kill the cancer cells
  • Biological therapy: To help the body fight cancer

Self-care for Melanoma

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Melanoma:
  • Avoid sun exposure: Protect from the harmful UV radiations
  • Apply sunscreen: Provides protection against harmful radiations
  • Wear protective clothing: Provides more protection against the rays
  • Avoid tanning lamps and beds: Decreases the risk of skin cancer

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Melanoma

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Melanoma:
  • Intake vitamin supplements: Reduces the effects of melanoma

Patient Support for Treatment of Melanoma

The following actions may help Melanoma patients:
  • Support groups: Boosts the confidence in the patients
  • Talk to your closed ones: Relieves the stress

Time for Treatment of Melanoma

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Melanoma to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Melanoma.

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