The medical community has done a great job of making us aware of the dangers of skin cancer, and particularly melanoma.
We know we need to have regular check ups and if we feel any unusual lumps on or under the skin, to get them checked right away. There are several types of common skin lumps and lesions, not all of which are cancerous or particularly dangerous even if they are cancerous. One type of cancer however, is very dangerous and without aggressive and early treatment, can be fatal. It is called, Nodular Melanoma.
Dangers of Melanoma
Melanoma is dangerous because it can rapidly metastasize, moving to other parts of the body. This tendency to migrate makes it extremely difficult to treat.
Melanoma is normally seen on the arms, legs, scalp and back – those parts of the body frequently exposed to the sun. It is most common among people 50 and over. It is possible to get the cancer in the iris of the eye as well.
Tumors can grow on the surface of the skin or penetrate and grow thicker. Because it is difficult for lay people to tell the difference between a mole and cancer, you should have any skin lesion or mole which has grown or changed checked by a doctor.
With treatment, the five-year survival rate is 91 percent. Left untreated, the survival rate rapidly drops to only 16 percent.
Protecting yourself from Melanoma
Sun protection is vital in preventing skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun accounts for a large percentage of melanomas and other skin cancer variants.
Just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s risk of getting Melanoma. Clothing is still the best safeguard against the harmful rays of the sun, so wear bright or dark, densely woven fabrics, which offer the best defence.
Keeping more of your skin away from the sun is the way to go, so whenever possible, make it a point to wear long sleeved uppers and long pants. A hat and sunscreen add even more protection.
If you take prescription drugs, read the precautions carefully. Certain medications and medical conditions can cause your skin to be especially sensitive to the burning.