Melanoma is a dangerous malignant tumor that develops from melanocytes - the cells responsible for skin color and its changes during sun tanning. Most often, this tumor develops on the skin, the most vulnerable areas being those frequently exposed to sunlight. However, melanoma can also appear in other organs containing melanocytes, such as eye retina or oral mucosa.
Why is melanoma so dangerous?
Melanoma is a very aggressive tumor prone to rapid invasive growth deep into tissues and active metastatic spreading. Tumor cells spreading with the current of lymph or blood can affect both the nearest lymph nodes and distant organs - liver, lungs, bones, brain.
Melanoma removal and the best ways to do it
Removing melanoma is not only possible, but necessary - at present, surgery remains the main treatment option for melanoma. In this case, the tumor should be removed radically, that is, completely, otherwise the melanoma may keep growing from the remaining cells. For this reason, cryodestruction or laser removal arenot used to eliminate melanomas or melanoma-suspicious formations, as there is a great probability of leaving imperceptible tumor cells in the tissues and thus provoking their active spreading throughout the body.
It is also necessary to perform a histological study of the removed tissues (this, again, cannot be done with cryodestruction or laser ablation of the tumor). An expert will study the microscopic structure and properties of the removed tissues, as well as tumor thickness and depth of invasion in case of a malignant lesion. These findings will serve as the basis for determining the diagnosis, the disease stage and the tactics of further treatment. Immunohistochemical and genetic testing of melanoma tissue, in turn, will provide an opportunity to assess the susceptibility of tumor cells to different drug therapy options and to clarify the prognosis.
In general, the cause of melanoma is always the same, being the change in the cell's DNA that affects its further behavior. Malignant cells start growing and fissioning rapidly, their programmed death does not occur, and they are very weakly connected to each other and ready to go "freewheeling" through the body with blood or lymph flow.
As for melanoma, one of the proven causes of malignant cell transformation is exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Moreover, its source is not important, as it can be both natural sunlight and tanning lamps. It has been proven that visiting a solarium more than 20 times a year doubles the risk of developing skin cancer. Melanoma is also provoked by sunburns, especially if they occur repeatedly. Even more at risk are persons with pale skin, multiple moles and pigmented spots, or with a hereditary predisposition to malignant skin diseases.
How does melanoma manifest itself, and what should I focus on when I look at my skin?
Melanoma has several prominent features:
- it can resemble a normal mole
- it is usually of an irregular asymmetric shape, and its edges are uneven and dissected;
- its color is non-uniform or changes with time;
- it has a large size (more than 6 mm), or its size changes;
- there be peeling or sores on the surface.
If during a self-examination you found a formation that corresponds to any of the above signs, consult an oncologist, the earlier melanoma is suspected, the higher is the possibility of successful treatment.
Other possible causes for tumor development
Another, no less important mechanism for melanoma development is trauma of a mole or a pigmented spot. Benign skin lesions can be injured by clothing or in the course of contact sports, and if located on the scalp, when shaving or haircutting.
Inflammation is one of the theories for the causes of oncological conditions, and regular trauma will be inevitably accompanied by inflammatory reactions. In this case, the cells of a benign lesion may begin to change due to the constant need for recovery, and initially these changes will be characterized by the term “dysplasia”. If the irritant effect preserves, their malignant transformation may by all means occur in the future.
What is the best way to deal with a traumatized mole?
First of all, it must be shown to an oncologist, and the expert will decide whether it is necessary to remove it. If melanoma is suspected, the tumor should be removed completely, with an indentation on healthy-looking skin, as some of its cells may be invisible to the eye. The obtained tissue shall be sent for histological examination, the only way to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of "melanoma" with the maximum accuracy.
You can apply for a consultation about existing moles and pigmented spots, as well as undergo a full examination for melanoma if necessary, by calling the phone: +7 (495) 151-14-47
Every person has moles and pigmented spots on the skin, and their size and number usually increase with age. Most of these formations do not pose a threat to human health, but malignant tumors may appear among them, the most dangerous of which being melanoma.