Mayo Clinic Reports Melanoma is Curable When Caught Early

It’s the deadliest form of skin cancer, but unfortunately, is becoming increasingly common worldwide.

One in 50 Americans will have to deal with melanoma at some point in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, the organization strives to provide information on treatment options, and the latest news about skin cancer so that individuals can reduce their risk.

Today, the only major treatment for malignant melanoma is to remove the entire tumor, along with some of the skin. Removing the tumor in the early stages can help reduce the rate of recurrence of the disease, and further damage. Almost 80 percent of skin cancer cases can be cured completely when they are discovered at an early stage. Once the cancer has spread, more aggressive treatment is required. Today’s treatment options include radiation therapy, lymph node removal, chemotherapy and immune-based therapy.

By definition, melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, and is the main cause of skin-cancer related deaths. It is caused by an uncontrolled growth of pigmented cells, or melanin. It is predominantly found in adults, and 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from malignant melanoma. People of all skin types are at risk for developing melanoma at some point in their lives, and it is typically found only in parts of the body that are covered by skin.

Dermatologists and doctors advise individuals to avoid the use of tanning beds, especially before the age of 35, and to avoid direct sun exposure if they have a history of sunburns. The Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource also points out that individuals should see a dermatologist immediately if moles begin to itch, bleed, or are changing in color. Variations in color from tan, brown, black, and even red or white may be indicative of skin cancer.

Further Reading

  • Up until now, dermatologists have been trying a variety of different skin removal techniques to get rid of precancerous skin lesions.

  • Topical agents, diet and certain medicines presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2010 in Chicago is showing promise for preventing UV-induced skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, and dermatologists are now encouraging the public to be conscientious about the amount of sun they are exposed to, and taking extra steps to use broad-spectrum sunscreen on a regular basis.

  • Individuals with a rare skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) can improve their condition with the transfer of bone marrow stem cells. A team of medical researchers has found that bone marrow stem cells can effectively treat the disease and help to repair the skin and speed up the healing process. This skin disease cannot be treated with conventional dermatology procedures.

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