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Melanoma causes 7700 deaths in the US each year, although survival rates are improving, the incidence is still increasing. Melanoma is associated with abnormal moles (dysplastic naevi), a high density of moles on a person, long-term high degree of sun exposure, Celtic ancestry (white skin), and a family history of melanoma. Genetic studies have shown that melanoma can be associated with pancreatic, gastrointestinal, brain and breast cancer, and patients previously treated for Hodgkin's disease. Melanomas are usually suspected with changes in a moles' size, shape, border, color, and associated features such as itching or pain. Physicians incorporate dermoscopy and/or confocal microscopy to assist diagnosis. However, misdiagnosis of melanomas still occurs and results in many lawsuits. The method of treatment is excision. Sometimes deep, wide excisions are required in order to clear the area of the risk of developing recurrent melanoma. If the melanoma is large or spread is suspected, a sample of local lymph nodes will be taken at the time of or after surgery. Follow up visits to the doctor after excision are recommended for full skin checks, lymph node monitoring and enquiry about general well being. Melanomas commonly spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. Core to the treatment of melanoma, is its prevention. Prevent melanoma by wearing a hat, sunscreen and long-sleeved shirt and pants when in the sun. Survival is increased by early detection and treatment.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Medscape
About: Melanoma know how.
Date: 23 May 2005
Author: Barbara Burrall
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