Melanoma

A Cancer Project by Mclane

What is melanoma?

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color.Melanoma begins on the skin where it is easy to see and treat. However, it can grow into the skin, reaching the blood vessels and lymphatics, and can spread within the body to various organs when it can be fatal. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world, with 1 in 50 men being diagnosed with melanoma at least once in their lifetime. Each year, there are more new cases of Melanoma than breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer combined. (Mayo Clinic)

Risk Factors

Risk factors include skin type, amount of moles on the skin, sun exposure, immune system and genetics. Sun exposure- UVA and UVB rays are most likely to cause this type of cancer. Melanoma can also be genetic, when the CDK4 gene is mutated (chromosome 12) Any person who has a first-degree relative (mother, father, siblings or children) that was diagnosed with melanoma has a 50% greater chance of developing the melanoma than the person who does not have a family history of melanoma. While both genders are affected equally, people with lighter skin have a much higher risk of being infected with melanoma because their skin contains less melanin to protect itself. The risk of melanoma increases as people age. The average age at the time it is found is 62. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women) (Mayo Clinic).

Melanoma Research Foundation

Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the world's largest foundation devoted to curing, aiding, and donating to melanoma patients.

Treatment Options

For early-stage melanoma that is only located near where it started, the five-year survival rate is 98%. The five-year survival rates for melanoma that has spread to the nearby lymph nodes or to other parts of the body are 63% and 16% respectively. Overall, these rates have greatly improved from what they were in the early 1930's, and many melanoma patients are able to be back off their feet and back into their regular life quicker than ever.There are also a variety of support groups around the country, such as CancerCare or the Wellness Community. There are several techniques for treating melanoma, which correspond to the severity of the melanoma. These include:

  • Surgery- Surgery is the main treatment option for most melanomas, and usually cures early stage melanomas.
  • Immunotherapy- Immunotherapy is the use of medicines to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively.
  • Targeted therapy- As doctors have found some of the gene changes that make melanoma cells different from normal cells, they have begun to develop drugs that attack these changes. These targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy drugs, which basically attack any quickly dividing cells.
  • Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy (chemo) uses drugs that kill cancer cells. The drugs are usually injected into a vein or taken by mouth as a pill.
  • Radiation Therapy- Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (such as x-rays) or particles to kill cancer cells. ("How Is Melanoma Skin Cancer Treated?")

The ABC's of Melanoma (You might be at risk if you see any of the three)

Wipe Out Cancer Gala

Thursday, Nov. 19th, 12:30pm

1555 Old Peachtree Road Northwest

Suwanee, GA

Peachtree Ridge HS Spire students are hosting a gala to raise awareness and raise funds for all types of cancer, and it will have a specific booth for melanoma. Anyone and everyone is invited to help "Wipe Out Cancer!"

What can you do to protect yourself?

The first ever recorded case of melanoma was back in 5th century BC, but melanoma have plagued humanity for centuries before that. While melanoma is the most common type of cancer in the world, it is also one of the easiest to avoid. All you have to do is follow these simple guidelines to avoid getting melanoma:
  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen year-round.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Avoid tanning lamps and beds.
  • Become familiar with your skin so that you'll notice changes. ("How Is Melanoma Skin Cancer Treated?")

Works Cited (Mclane)

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"What Are the Survival Rates for Melanoma Skin Cancer, by Stage?" What Are the Survival Rates for Melanoma Skin Cancer by Stage? American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

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Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Cancer." - Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 23 May 2015. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

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