What is Melanoma Skin Cancer: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Stages, Treatments

What is melanoma cancer?

Melanoma cancer refers to the disease where the melanocytes (pigment cells) begin to divide uncontrollably. This causes tumors of these cells to form. There are four main types which are categorized differently depending on the location, severity, and symptoms. In addition to changes in how they manifest, prognoses are also highly variable.

What are the symptoms of melanoma cancer?

While this may slightly change depending on the differences of the cancer types, there are some symptoms of melanoma cancer that can act as warnings something is off. Tumors form, as with any other cancer. When it’s the pigment cells malfunctioning, these tumors can look like a mole or freckle. While a highly freckled person may find it difficult to differentiate between a benign and dangerous beauty mark. First, check for symmetry. Unlike most moles, these are not the same on both sides.

Although not all marked that can’t be perfectly mirrored are cause for alarm, it is something to look out for. Secondly, is it growing or appearing out of nowhere? Freckle development can be harmless, but if you have a growing mass this can indicate a problem. A doctor may want to monitor it for a bit before taking any harsh measures. You can always refer to pictures online for guidance. Remember, it can be any color and expert observation is needed for a proper diagnosis.

Where can I get melanoma?

We have this conception about melanoma as moles all over the body. A surprise little spot on your butt or a surprisingly freckly shoulder that wasn’t there the summer before. We remember it’s the reason we wear sunscreen and it’s bad to let your skin burn. While these all have foundations in the truth and empirical evidence, there are no limitations to areas which can be afflicted with melanoma. While discoloration may still be a clue, regions of the body you might not expect to be affected. Melanoma eye cancer is a rare but possible location for the attack. Additionally, spreading is a lethal and common component to melanoma. This doesn’t necessarily mean that freckles will flood your body, but organs can be affected. When cancer spreads to a vital organ like the heart, brain, or kidneys, cancer will soon be fatal. It’s not always as easy removing a blemish -or even an entire appendage. Researchers have spent a lot of finances and time investigating them as it is this spread that kills. It is also the part which is taken into account when staging is assigned. Spread to the lymph nodes are specifically taken into consideration with this.

What stages does melanoma skin cancer go through when spreading

A journal in Nature Cell Biology (Melanoma miRNA trafficking controls tumor primary niche formation) monitored activities of cancerous cells undergoing processes of the progression of cancer. The scientists found that before they spread, a tumor expels tiny vesicles holding molecules of microRNA. A vesicle means a lot of things in science. To a geologist -a cavity in volcanic rock resulting from gas bubbles. Botanists thing of sacks filled with air in an algea like seaweed. For anatomy, it’s vacuoles in the body. They something akin to a package for cells and vital for communication. Some healthy cells use them to transmit action potentials by sending packages of neurotransmitters or other chemicals to each other. Just like a neuron can cause an adjacent cell to spike through some serotonin, dopamine, or oxytocin, these bundles of genetic information cause morphological changes in cells on the receiving end. It’s like mailing a parcel with a a new game play or requests to let a sick friend crash on the couch who perpetually makes clones and crowds your apartment. Changes in the dermis occur that prepare for the transportation and arrival of cancer cells in other parts of the body. This better understanding has also offered a new approach for oncology to fight cancer. The team also found certain substances that seem to block the process which offers a promising candidate for a cancer drug.

Will fake tanning give me melanoma skin cancer?

While a trip to the salon won’t guarantee an immediate diagnosis, exposing yourself unprotected to UV rays from these beds is a problem. The exposure is thought to be to blame for the formation of most types of melanoma. While there are some exceptions to these credentials, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid it at all costs. Always wear protection, especially if you are a fair Caucasian.

Why is race a factor?

These factors are presently mostly due to skin color. While there are no ethnicities which carry immunity from melanoma cancer, white people are the most at risk. Correlation between skin tones and races exist (and are the entire basis of the concept), and these differences in complexions are where the vulnerability lies.

Pale skin is more likely to get burnt. These burns are a prime risk factor. Beyond that, there appears to be a genetic link, and hereditary is also a large component of your racial identity.

How does melanoma compare to other cancers?

The underlying physiological mechanisms are similar to any other cancer. Whether you have lung cancer or colon cancer, it is caused by the rapid division of cells causing a malignant tumor formation. It is not as prevalent as breast cancer or as deadly as blood cancer overall. Still, any type of cancer is nothing to scoff at. The treatment options are relatively similar, using radiation, chemo, or surgery. The signs you might expect will vary depending on which cells are infected.



Article References:

  1. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma/melanoma-warning-signs-and-images
  2. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/what-is-melanoma.html
  3. https://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/Fulltext/2016/09100/How_Does_Melanoma_Spread_to_Other_Organs_in_the.7.aspx
  4. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care
  5. https://www.cancer.gov/types/common-cancers