Melanoma

Health Tips

Melanoma is a malignant neoplasm of cells containing melanin, a black pigment. Most often, melanoma forms on the surface of the skin and is clearly visible to the naked eye. And only in very rare cases, a tumor can develop on the mucous membranes of the mouth, conjunctiva, genital organs, intestines, and on the retina.

The number of cases especially increases after the beach season: the sun increases the risk of developing a tumor several times. However, some impressionable people tend to exaggerate their risk of getting melanoma. In order not to torment yourself with unnecessary doubts and not turn into a hypochondriac, you need to thoroughly understand: what is melanoma, why and when it appears and how to avoid it.

According to various studies, from 50 to 80% of all melanomas develop at the site of moles. What changes in moles should be alarming?

These are any changes in a previously “calm” mole or the appearance of a new mole and its rapid growth (within 3-8 months).

Possible signs of degeneration of a mole:

  1. The appearance of a mole in fuzzy blurry edges, rays, mesh around the circumference, asymmetry, which was not observed before.
  2. Development of an inflammatory halo around the mole: areas of redness, swelling.
  3. An active increase in the area of ​​the mole over the past 3-8 months, the growth of the previously flat mole in height.
  4. Change in the color of the mole: darkening, lightening, the appearance of uneven coloring with the inclusion of whitish or dark areas.
  5. Bleeding or weeping surface of the mole, the appearance of crusts on its surface.
  6. Itching and tingling in the area of ​​pigment formation, dense nodules next to the mole, enlargement of regional lymph nodes.

Moles with such changes must be examined by an oncologist.

To prevent the development of melanoma, it is necessary to carefully monitor the pigmented formations on the body. Some clinics offer the service of compiling a “map of moles”, when information about the number, shape, quantity, color and other signs of moles on the body is stored in a special program, with which it is convenient to track all changes later.

Long exposure to the sun should be avoided, especially for white-skinned people with blond hair and a pale color of the iris, this group of people has a higher risk of getting melanoma. The risk group includes people with heredity burdened by oncological diseases, as well as those who have already been treated for skin melanoma.

It is extremely dangerous to injure moles on the body. Moles that are constantly exposed to friction with clothes, moles on the feet, palms, genitals should be under strict control. In some cases, they are recommended to be removed for prophylactic purposes. If you hurt a mole, for example, while shaving, you should contact an oncologist as soon as possible, who will assess the condition of the pigmented formation using a special device and give his recommendations. Often, an injury to an ordinary mole also becomes a reason for its prophylactic removal.

Diagnostics

Diagnosis is carried out by an oncologist or dermatologist. The most amount of information about a mole can be obtained with the help of an examination. To do this, a layer of mineral oil is applied to a suspicious mole and examined using a special illuminated lens – a dermatoscope, obtaining an increase of 10-40 times. With such a study, the doctor can identify almost all signs of melanoma.

In addition to the examination, a radioisotope study is used, based on the ability of melanoma cells to accumulate radioactive phosphorus.

If the surface of the mole becomes wet, bleeds or flakes, a cytological examination of the mole prints can give reliable results. To do this, a glass slide is applied to its surface, which is then studied under a microscope.

Treatment

With the prophylactic removal of a mole without signs of malignancy, the operation is usually performed under local anesthesia. The mole is gently removed with a small amount of tissue around. It is desirable that the material be sent for cytological and morphological studies. The cosmetic results of such an operation are usually very good.

Melanoma is removed surgically. In order to avoid metastasis and recurrence of the tumor, up to 3 cm of tissues are excised in the circumference of the tumor, as well as a part of the subcutaneous fatty tissue at the bottom of the wound. In some cases, preoperative radiation therapy for melanoma is performed. Under the action of irradiation, division in tumor cells stops, the size decreases, which also reduces the risk of metastasis and recurrence after surgical removal.

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