Melanoma Cancer Research Project

By: Hayden Woodall

Cancer can be considered a disease of the cell cycle because cancer develops when your body has been broken down to where it loses control of the cell cycle, and therefore can't regulate and control growth consistently.

Definition of the Cancer

-Like all cancers, in melanoma the cells grow and spread very fast, and continually do this.

-Cancer cells are different than normal cells in the way that they divide even when they aren't supposed to, which normal cells can't do. Canceer cells also ignore signals from other cells for other things.

-Melanoma is a skin cancer, and thus affects the integumentary body system, but if it spreads a lot. It will reach and affect the immune system.

Description of the Symptoms

Most common early sign is a growing mole on your skin, an unusual looking mole that stands out from others you might have. It could be discolored, or have an odd shape or border.

Causes for Melanoma

-The environmental causes of melanoma mostly revolve around sun exposure. Having a history of sunburns, or a few severe sunburns, or being exposed to excessive UV light, which comes from the sun and tanning beds, can all cause melanoma to develop.

-Health factors that can lead to melanoma are skin attributes that someone has or develops. Having fair or light skin with less pigment, which lets a person get sunburnt and freckle easily, can make someone more likely to develop melanoma. Also, having a weak immune system can make you more suceptible to a disease like melanoma.

-If you have a family history of melanoma, you are more likely to get it.

Prevention

-There isn't a specific way to prevent a disease like this, there are only things that one can do to make themselves less likely to get it.

Staying out of the sun, as previously stated. But also you should become familiar with your skin so you will notice any changes, like an unfamiliar mole.

Treatment

-There are some medications to treat melanoma, but they are for the later stages that surgery can't take care of.

-Surgery is the primary treatment for most stager of melanoma. It is very effective on the cancer when it hasn't spread very far, and can be completely removed from the body.

-Chemotherapy is injected by vein or taken by mouth. Chemo is used to treat advanced melanoma, and is not often the first treatment for melanoma. Chemotherapy is not as effective in melanoma as it is in other diseases, but it can extend the lifetimes of some patients, and relieve some symptoms.

-Radiation is used to treat some melanoma patients, and attacks skin tumor.

-Certain dieting, and nutrition habits will treat the side affects of melanoma, such as weight loss, nausea, and others.

-Avoiding being in the sun for long periods of time seriously reduces the chance of getting melanoma.

Diagnosis

-Skin tests are done like removing a mole from someones skin, and testing it for melanoma qualities, or cancerous cells. Skin exams by a trained professional also can lead to the discovery of melanoma in someones skin. MRI, PET, and CAT scans are done to test for melanoma, as well as x-rays.

Who Gets and Causes

-Anyone can get this disease, but it is most common in fair skinned males age 30-50.

-In the U.S., 1/35 men will get this disease, and 1/54 women will get this disease.