What is Malignant Melanoma?
Melanoma is one of the skin cancers originating from melanocyte cells that produce the pigment called melanin, which gives our skin its color, and is the deadliest of all skin cancers.
Melanocytes are found in every region of the skin from the scalp to the toenails, as well as in mucous membranes such as our eyes, mouth and genital area, and melanoma can develop in all these regions.
Melanoma is seen as a serious health problem all over the world. In recent years, the incidence of melanoma in the Caucasian race has increased. The World Health Organization estimates 132,000 new cases of melanoma each year. Although its frequency varies in each country, it is most common in Australia.
Although the incidence of melanoma increases with age, it is quite common in the 20-45 age range. As a general rule all over the world; The earlier melanoma is diagnosed, the longer the life expectancy.
What Is The Relationship Of Melanoma With Sunlight?
The relationship of melanoma with sunlight is very important. While it is more common in the elderly in areas of continuous sun exposure, it occurs more often in areas with intermittent and intense sun exposure in young people. Repetitive short-term exposure to intense sunlight, especially in childhood; summer vacation, weekend vacation, outdoor entertainment and sunburn are important risk factors. The decrease in the ozone layer leads to an increase in melanomas due to sun rays. For this reason, its importance is increasing in our country with plenty of sun.
This is why it is so important to constantly protect both ourselves and our children from the sun.
Solarium units are also a risk factor. For those who use it 10 times or more a year, the risk increases 2 times over the age of 30 and 7.7 times under the age of 30.
Who is at risk?
Individuals with freckles, colored eyes
Those who have many moles on their body
Those with a family history of melanoma
Those with a history of sunburn in childhood
are at risk for the development of melanoma.
How to Do Self-Examination?
What is the ABCDE Rule?
MELANOM is the deadliest of skin cancers. The key to treatment is early diagnosis.
It is possible for the individual to self-examine the moles on his body. Moles should be controlled with the rule A, B, C, D, E, which is indicated by the abbreviation of the English initials.
A (Asymmetry): When we divide a mole in half, both sides are symmetrical if they are mirror images of each other. However, the presence of differences should be considered as a risk for melanoma.
B (Border: Edge): Irregularities on the edges of the mole are checked and it is risky to be irregular.
C (Color: Color): It is important for melanoma to have a darkening, lightening in color or discoloration.
D (Diameter: Diameter): Moles larger than 5 mm (Half a centimeter) are more risky.
E (Evolution): Any change that occurs outside the natural course of a mole. The appearance of swelling, enlargement, the onset of itching, the development of bleeding in a flat mole are important in terms of melanoma development signal.
Individuals in the above-mentioned risk group and people who notice changes in their current mole should apply to a dermatologist and be examined.
How is Dermatology Examination of Moles Performed?
The examination and follow-up of moles is done by firstly examining them visually, then by examining them with a hand dermoscope or digital computerized dermoscopy devices. These devices provide the opportunity to evaluate the structure of moles and some signals that may be bad under high light and with high magnification. In this way, it is possible to evaluate the examined lesion more accurately in terms of melanoma.
If some malignant symptoms are observed, immediate intervention is provided, and non-risky ones can be recorded in the computer environment and their development can be followed in the future.
How to Follow in Suspicion of Melanoma?
When melanoma is suspected or diagnosed, the first thing to do is to clarify the diagnosis by taking a biopsy from that area and to determine the type and depth of melanoma. If possible, the entire lesion should be removed and examined. In large lesions, biopsy can be taken from the appropriate place and examined, and removal can be planned according to the biopsy result.
The treatment and follow-up process after the diagnosis of melanoma and the removal of the lesion vary according to the type and depth of the melanoma and the characteristics of some melanomas.
It should not be forgotten that early diagnosis in melanoma saves lives!
Detection of melanoma late and failure to perform the necessary operation on time may cause this tumor to progress rapidly and spread to the internal organs.
If you have many moles, fair skin, red hair, colored eyes, that is, you are in the risk group for sun rays and melanoma, if you have a family history of melanoma, if you have observed the above-mentioned changes in your current mole, consult a dermatologist without waiting for the control and examination of your moles.