Melanoma

- Hazel Hudson

Introduction

Skin cancer, or melanoma, is the most common form of cancer in the USA. It is caused by UV ray exposure, and can be cured with chemotherapy or other radiation treatments. Although melanoma itself can be cured, it could enter the bloodstream and spread, causing other, more serious and fatal cancers. This flyer is about how to keep healthy when dealing with skin cancer or melanoma.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a skin cancer that can spread through the body if not found immediately, forming other cancers. It is caused by a genetic change like severe UV ray exposure, which can be caused by sunburns and artificial tanning. It is found in moles and skin growths that cluster together and block out the healthy cells. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA. Skin cancer and melanoma are very rarely inherited throughout a family, because it is caused by a physical genetic change to the skin. Though it is common in the USA, there is no specific location where melanoma can be found.

Tips and Facts

Ten Facts about Melanoma

  1. The skin cancer is started in the melanocytes, which produces the melanin that gives skin its color.
  2. Melanoma clusters together, forming “nevi”, or moles.
  3. Because of a genetic change, like exposure to UV rays, can cause malfunction, like melanoma cancer.
  4. The skin growth can damage or block out healthy cells; this is called cancer.
  5. Spreads downward into the bloodstream, so it can cause other cancers if not caught early.
  6. Can spread downward into the blood vessels.

  7. The blood could carry the cancer to other parts of the body, like the brain.

  8. The genetic change that causes melanoma is usually UV ray damaging exposure.

  9. Tanning in the sun or using tanning beds is thought to be one the main causes of melanoma.

  10. People with lighter skin are more likely to contract melanoma.

Five ways to Improve or Prevent Melanoma

  1. Do not use tanning salons, and try not to tan in the sun for too long.
  2. Broad-spectrum sunscreen should be worn during a long time spent in direct sunlight.
  3. Try to stay in the shade between 10 a.m and 4 p.m.
  4. Treat sunburns immediately.
  5. Usually wear clothes that cover the arms and legs when outside.

Symptoms

  • Open skin that won't heal
  • Multicolored spots or moles
  • Clusters of skin growths that may start to bleed
  • Any moles changing shape or size in a relatively short amount of time
  • Uneven color in skin
  • Irregular shape or perimeter of a mole
  • Other cancers forming directly after noticed symptoms

Diagnosis

Skin cancer or melanoma is diagnosed with a physical exam or a biopsy, which is where a skin sample is taken and experimented with. Imaging tests can also be used to determine where or if the cancer has spread to in the body.

Treatments

Radiation therapies can be used to reduce or cure cancer, but chemotherapy will most likely have to be used for other cancers caused by the spreading infection. Immunotherapy could also be used for the direct melanoma or its by-product cancers.

The Cure to Melanoma

Melanoma and other skin cancers can be cured with repeated therapies, though it can lead to other fatal cancers. Now, biopsies, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy are being used to either cure or reduce cancer.

Works Cited

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Jan. 2015. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.


  • "TeensHealth." TeensHealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.



  • "WebMD - Better Information. Better Health." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.



  • Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.