If I was to say Melanoma, what would you think?
If i was to say, “have you been checked?”, how would you respond?
A melanoma only millimetres deep can Kill you.
So what is “Melanoma?”
The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease
We’ve all seen the ads – how tanning is unhealthy, even if you want that glow. Some doctors in the US are crediting Twilight actually, because of the way they have made “pale and pasty” a new in-thing.
We all know what to look for: a change in the shape, colour, height or width, or for increased itchiness.
But when you see these signs, do you go and get them checked?
I know I do, and I have a scar on the side of my face to attest to that fact. Although, to be completely honest, I wasn’t always this meticulous about my moles. It was when my Nonno, whom I love so very dearly, was diagnosed with one on his arm.
It scared the absolute bejeebus out of him, and my nanni, and the whole family. He had it successfully removed, but he still needs 6 monthly check ups, even when they venture OS later this year.
Australia is renowned for its hot sun, blazing summers and tropical beaches. But these little facts of every day living in our great country come with a lot of risks – ones which aren’t always heeded.
Melanoma represents 9.5% of all cancers, with more than 10,300 cases diagnosed annually. The risk of being diagnosed by age 85 is 1 in 15 for men and 1 in 24 for women.
In 2008, there were 1430 deaths from melanoma.
Surgery can be curative for thin melanomas and requires that the melanoma be removed with at least 1–2cm of normal skin around it. If the draining lymph nodes are involved they are removed.
For thick melanomas some cancer centres offer high dose interferon after surgery, however many offer clinical trials of vaccines because there is no routine therapy mandated. Surgery should be the mainstay of treating relapsed melanoma if it is possible to remove all of the disease.
For widespread disease, chemotherapy is borderline effective and drugs such as dacarbazine can palliate symptoms, as can biologicals like interferon or interleukin 2. Radiotherapy may palliate local symptoms
An individual’s prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as their age and general health at the time of diagnosis. Five year survival for people diagnosed with melanoma is 92%, rising to 99% if the melanoma is detected before it has spread. If spread is within the region of the primary melanoma, the five year survival is 65%, dropping to 15% if the disease is widespread.
Is your tan still looking as good? Did you know Tanning Beds are just as lethal?
If you have any moles that have changed, or notice any symptoms, please go straight to your doctor. It may be too late if you wait.
Please take five minutes of your life to watch this video. It May save your life.
With Love, Hugs, Floppy Hats, Sunglasses and SunScreen,