Melanoma

    • Brief

    • Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that occurs when something goes wrong with the cells that create the color (pigment) of your skin. The condition usually starts from a mole on your skin. It is rarer for melanoma to develop in the eye, mouth, or mucous membranes of the vagina or anus. These are also difficult to detect. Melanoma, if not treated early, may spread to other organs.

      Melanoma mostly affects areas exposed to the sun like your face, back, and legs. Surgery can be done to remove melanoma, especially when detected early.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Some common symptoms of melanoma are:

      • A new dark growth on your skin that has an irregular shape, border or colour.
      • An old mole that starts to change in size, colour or shape.
      • A mole that starts itching.
      • A mole that starts bleeding or has discharge.
    • What are the causes?

    • Melanoma is causes by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damaging the DNA in your skin cells. Repeated sunburn greatly increases your risk of  melanoma. Exposure to artificial sources of UV light, such as sun lamps, can have the same effect.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • You are at increased risk of melanoma if:

      • If you spend a lot of time exposed to the sun without protection. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen will reduce this risk.
      • If melanoma runs in the family.
      • If you have many moles (more than 50) on your body.
      • If you have fair skin.
      • If you have a condition or use medicines that weaken your immune system.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • You should visit your doctor immediately:

      • If you notice any changes (e.g. shape, size, colour, bleeding) in a mole on your body.
      • If you have any sudden or abnormal growths on your body.
    • How to prevent?

    • You can decrease your risk of developing melanoma by:

      • Reducing your exposure to direct sunlight. Try to avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm.
      • Wear protective clothing when you are out in the sunlight.
      • Apply sunscreen everyday, at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30.
      • Check your skin often for new growths or changes to any moles that you already have.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

      • You cannot treat melanoma with home remedies, only medical treatment.

      Treatment options:

      • Your healthcare provider will remove the melanoma during surgery. This is the primary treatment for the condition.
      • Depending on your healthcare provider's assessment they may recommend other treatments. This can include medication and radiotherapy.
      • You may need talk therapy. Speak to your healthcare provider if you feel sad or depressed for long periods of time or if you are reluctant to do things that you usually enjoy doing.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Being diagnosed with melanoma can be scary for you. It is essential that you have people to support you emotionally and financially, like family, friends or religious groups. You should always ask questions, express your concerns and stick to your treatment.

      You may need to learn to cope with physical changes to your health since many of them last a few months to years after surgery. This can depend on the stage of your cancer, duration of treatment and your health in general.

      • You can use clothing or bandage supports to cushion or immobilize areas where cancer cells were removed. You can expect fluid build up in these areas and some discomfort.
      • Massages and physiotherapy may help with discomfort and pain.
      • Journal the side effects you are experiencing, sharing the same with your healthcare provider. Document any changes or consistency despite over-the-counter medication use.