Origins Of Melanoma
A key take away from the video is the point on how melanoma appears on your body. Nobody is suggesting changes in moles should be ignored, simply that the condition can arrive in a variety of ways.
Although the least common form of the main skin cancers, cases of malignant melanoma are increasing. The number of people diagnosed in the UK has risen by 50% in a decade and we are approaching 17,000 new cases a year.
The chart below shows a 25 year study from the National Cancer Registration Service, a slightly outdated but still useful indicator:
This highlights a well understood issue. From the 1960s onward, we all started heading for the sun far more often and modern melanoma incidence is the result.
The condition can take a long time to develop, hence the age grouping. Melanoma can however be diagnosed from early adulthood and in all cases, an ability to spread throughout the body makes this dangerous.
The better news is that medical understanding, diagnosis and treatment have advanced at almost the rate the cancer has. With early detection and professional care, cure rates are not far away from 100%.
Whilst the sun is a main cause, other options such as familial history of melanoma will have been discussed at your personal consultation.
Establishing the cause of a melanoma can matter to a treatment plan, which should be unique to match your needs and offer a timely solution.
Malignant melanoma requires prompt treatment to prevent this spreading to other areas of the body. Treatment will almost always involve surgical excision of the cancerous tissue, to a safe margin.
In early diagnosed, smaller area cases, the surgery is likely to be minor and in most cases, surgical removal of melanoma is carried out as a day procedure, under local anaesthetic.
General anaesthetic is available, as is any level of surgical intervention. In cases where the cancer could have spread to nearby lymph nodes, a biopsy and where positive, removal of the lymph nodes is a possibility.
We should stress the benefits of early skin cancer diagnosis and treatment but whatever the nature and location of the melanoma, treatment is there for you.
Skilled surgery is about aesthetic concerns as well as removal. Careful stitches, or additional procedures during initial surgery may be fine, although there will be times where cosmetic follow up is needed.
This is available in house at our Harley Street centre, from experienced plastic surgeons. Even where significant tissue removal has been required, the detailed techniques they offer can achieve fine results.
Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy may be considered, mostly where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
We are pleased to help treat advanced cases, although early diagnosis is a better result. If you have concerns about new, or changing moles, or any unwanted lesions, please do arrange to see a specialist.
Whether you come to our London clinic for diagnosis, melanoma treatment, or after care, we offer individual support. Decisions should be made by understanding and working with patients.