After detecting a usual mole or another spot on the skin, it’s important to have this examined by a professional healthcare provider. In case the healthcare provider thinks it’s something serious, he or she will do a biopsy to examine the spot under a microscope. If the biopsy shows evidence of melanoma, the next step is to stage the melanoma. There are 5 stages. Stage 0 is called Melanoma in situ and means that the cancer is only in the skin’s top layer. Stage 4 – which is the worst stage – means that cancer has spread to more distant lymph nodes, body tissue, or internal organs, like the bones, lungs, brain or colon.
Treatment Options for Melanoma
If treatment is possible, this depends on the patient’s general health and the stage of melanoma, there are several options to treat skin cancer or melanomas. The most common one is surgery. In which the cancer cells and a few healthy skin cells around the cancer are removed. Often this is a surgery performed under local anesthesia. For more advanced stages of melanoma treatment options include:
- Lymphadenectomy, in case cancer has spread to the lymph nodes they will be removed to prevent more metastasis.
- Metastasectomy, in case of small melanoma bits has spread to internal organs and can be removed
- Radiation therapy
Information is Key!
Melanoma cannot be prevented, but you can reduce the risk by considering the following things:
- Avoid the sun as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 4 pm
- Stop using tanning beds
- Wear hats with brims, sunglasses, and thin clothing with long sleeves
- Use sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30. Reapply every 1.5 when sweating or swimming. Apply year-round!
- Use lip balm with sunscreen
There are so many ways to treat cancer these days, the above-mentioned options are just a few examples. Sometimes they are combined, but it can also happen that these treatments do not help (anymore), so other options should be considered. That’s why it’s essential to do your own extensive online research and stay up to date about new treatments. Have you already been diagnosed with melanoma but aren’t satisfied with your treatment plan? Getting a second opinion in another hospital or oncology center is always smart. Continue your search for more information about melanoma, skin cancer & its treatment options, and other skin conditions here: