Melanoma on Hand, Arm, Leg, Foot: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Cancer is not new, but diagnostic advances have led us to decipher once mystery deaths. Paleopathologists (experts who study ancient pathologies) found evidence of cancer through examination for fourth century bones and skulls.

A history of melanoma

Mummies are preserved well enough that they can be examined for a cause of death, offering even further evidence. In fact, Hippocrates had written descriptions of the disease back in the late 400s to 300s BC. Other physicians followed in suit across the centuries including Rufus of Ephesus (60- 120 AD). It wasn’t until the 1800s when great strides actually could be defined as progress rather than merely observing and jotting down the observation. In 1806, an unpublished medical paper in Paris described la melanose. Dr. William Norris made progress in the field working with autopsies and offered a genetic insight in 1820 and by the end of the century.

Even before the convention of inheritance and genes was published, he remarked how odd it is was that the father and son had both contracted this strange illness. Surgeons such as Samuel Cooper commented on the importance of early diagnosis and removal to survive. Primitive versions of the modern surgery we know had been executed. As time went on they became more complex, safe, and familiar. The Victorian era had brought forth countless discoveries being at the forefront of the revolution of molecular research. The research had laid a proper foundation for modern medicine to build off. By the 1900s, proper experiments looking at inheritability in mice took form. Data identifying specific mutations revolutionized the field of oncology among others in biological science.

What are symptoms of foot melanoma

First described in by Jean Cruveilhier when he published Anatomie Pathologique du Corps Humain (1829 to 1842), symptoms of melanoma of the foot, hand, and vulva are rather similar. As it’s the result of dysfunction among pigment cells, it’s not surprising color often undergoes a noticeable change in areas impacted. Darker colored blotches that are elevated and oblong are common, however, exceptions can be had where markings lack a dark shade or bump. In early stages, the possibly irregular, raised, the colored blemish will not be painful. As time goes on, bleeding, laceration, and spread to vital organs may occur causing a different set of signs associated with the later staged.

Types of melanoma that develop on the hand

There are countless different melanomas which can develop on the hand. Most commonly they will fit into the following four classifications. Superficial spreading melanoma is the most prevalent. It grows outward and spreads across the skin, normally starting at the trunk, or central, part of the body. Most common on the back of men and legs of women. Nodular melanoma is the second most common. Spreads faster in comparison and spreads deep into the skin. It starts as polypoids and may grow to the shape of a mushroom with a stem or stalk (pedunculated). Can be found with no sun exposure. Lentigo maligna melanoma is common in elderly populations and makes up a tenth of all melanoma skin cancers. Starts to grow across for years before it grows down and appears in brown, uneven blotches. Finally, acral lentiginous melanoma is more common with darker skinned people as opposed to pale. These are very common on the palms of hands. Diagnoses are not limited to this list and rarer cancers exist.

Are these different from melanoma on a leg

Melanoma is rather similar between cases. Although something can be said about the quality of uniqueness when melanomas don’t demonstrate a relation to sunburns (such as with cancers under nails or developing within mucous membranes). Still, whether skin melanoma is on the leg or back, it’s going to be the same thing. Rapidly dividing melanocytes which develop tumors and eventually spread. Of course, there are nonmelanoma tumors which are benign and nothing to worry about, but this is something that should be cleared with your doctor. Even when images online are uploaded from reliable sources, these pictures are not an official diagnostic tool to someone with no background in oncology or medicine.

Does melanoma on arm or other appendage mean amputation?

When caught early enough, the initial tumor being removed may yield successful results. Even if one has several spots of melanoma on the arm, legs, or other extremities, they set the priority on saving it. In some cases of exceptional advancement of the disease, amputations may be the only option.

This will likely not be the initial step. As one approaches losing their battle to the disease, it’s often spread beyond the appendage and cutting it off would just be ineffective.

Causes and prevention of melanoma

Melanoma is caused by a number of factors such as genes and fairness of skin. This is not really something you can control, but rather, be aware that your personal DNA raises your susceptibility to the disease and avoid additional environmental triggers. These outside instigators can be prevented in most cases. Tanning and excessive sun exposure can do this due to the carcinogenic effects of UV radiation. Wear sunblock or appropriate clothes in order to limit damage to your skin. Also, keep in mind, it is a very rare disease. You shouldn’t freak out if you get burned or end up with freckle spots.

Celebrities with melanoma

Don’t feel ashamed of your disease, there are many people affected by melanoma. You’d be surprised to know what famous stars also suffer from the disease.

Hugh Jackman: Known for his portrayal of Wolverine for Marvel and lead in the Greatest Showman Musical, he’s very open about his struggles with the disease and advocates awareness and sunblock!

Khloe Kardashian: The reality star from Keeping up with the Kardashians made the confession when appearing in Hollywood Medium.

Diane Keaton: the American actress, producer, author, and real estate guru has held a lot of titles. Among less glamourous hats, she’s also a skin cancer survivor who advocates for sunscreen.

 

 

Article References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303163/
  2. https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/melanoma/types-of-melanoma/?region=on
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934499/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/guide/skin-cancer
  5. https://www.health.com/skin-cancer/hugh-jackman-skin-cancer-celebrities?slide=468249#468249

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