SolveYourProblem Article Series: Skin Cancer
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What Are The Stages & Treatments For Malignant Melanoma Skin Cancer?

The most serious form of skin cancer is referred to as malignant melanoma. There are four main types of this skin cancer and they are as follows: superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and lentigo maligna melanoma.

As with any disease such as cancer it really matters that there is early detection and treatment. Happily, it is a disease that is very curable when it is gotten to in its early stages. It has been estimated that well over ninety percent of all types of skin cancer cases can be completely cured.

In assessing the treatment for malignant melanoma, a doctor will take into account the patient's age, personal health and their situation. The location of the tumor, its thickness and what stage it is in will also determine the procedure to follow.

There are varying stages with regard to malignant melanoma. They are determined as follows: In situ melanoma - this is at the onset of the cancer when it is yet small and does not go beneath the skin.

Stage 1 melanoma - follows and refers to lesions or tumors that are less that two millimeters thick and only exist in the epidermis or outer layer of the skin or the upper part of the inner layer.

Stage 2 melanoma - This is where the cancer may have spread to the inner layer of the skin, or the dermis, and may have entered some fat cells but has not extended to the tissue cells below that.

Stage 3 melanoma - This is a very serious stage whereby the cancer has now traveled to the lymph nodes where it can be transported elsewhere in the body.

Stage 4 melanoma - is where the cancer has now definitely spread to other organs of the body.

The standard treatment for malignant melanoma is surgery, especially when the carcinoma is located in one spot and has not yet traveled beyond the immediate area. However, if it is determined that the cancer has extended further the additional treatments of radiation and chemotherapy may be recommended.

Radiation is used to specifically target a localized site in order to kill off any cancerous cells that may nearby after surgery has been performed.

Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that is used in serious advanced melanoma where the cancer has appeared to spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy drugs travel through the system and targets these rapidly changing radical cells.

Another form of treatment or therapy is called immunotherapy or biological therapy. This is a treatment that is meant to build the immune system. A doctor may recommend this if the patient has a higher risk of the cancer recurring and if the lymph nodes have been compromised. The typical agent used in this therapy is called interferon alpha.

Although the incidence of all types of skin cancer have been on the increase in recent years, it is safe to say that the awareness of this issue has grown as well. More and more people are taking preventative measures to avoid getting this disease. It is comforting to note that it is a highly curable illness and much can be done if immediate action is taken at the onset of it.

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