There is no reliable cure for melanoma. In most cases, all the surgeon can do is cut cancerous tissue from the body by removing malignant moles, the skin surrounding the malignant mole and removing nearby lymph nodes if the cancer has spread. Melanoma does not respond well to chemotherapy and the effects of drug treatments are quite limited. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body life expectancy can rapidly diminish so it's vital early surgical treatment is given.
Where skin cancer statistics are compiled it has been shown that the skin is the most common type of skin cancer in the United States and many other countries. Skin cancer is more common in people with lightly pigmented skin; white people are more at risk. Those with fair or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, and those who burn easily are also more likely to get skin cancer.
Melanoma is often caused by exposure to high levels of sunlight. A mole can become malignant (cancerous) often years after the skin has been burnt (often after sun bathing or using sun beds). One or more blistering sunburns during childhood or teenage years can cause skin cancer many years later. Whilst previous exposure to the sun and sun beds are established risk factors, melanoma and other skin cancers can still arise without overexposure to sun and light. Please consult a suitable healthcare professional if you have any concerns with your skin.
In the United States, both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute provide information about skin cancer.
Melanoma / Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month coincides with Melanoma Monday, an annual awareness day on the first Monday of May each year.
"See Spot... Check Spot..."
The What Health Editor was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma in 2010, and can confirm that speed is of the essence when treating this disease. If you have a mole which has darkened, changed color, itches, bleeds or just doesn't look right please visit a healthcare professional so that it can be checked out.