Most of us have freckles, birth marks, or moles across our body. It is not unusual for our skin not to look uniform, so patches of discoloration or “beauty marks” are average. What isn’t average is when one of those marks develops into a melanoma. Then you might have to worry.
Melanoma is generally a cancer of the skin, and usually shows up as moles that are developing. Having moles doesn’t mean you have melanoma; it just puts you slightly more at risk for developing it. Melanoma doesn’t even have to be cancerous; it can just be an abnormal growth.
Sadly though there are often cases of malignant melanoma. This is melanoma that is cancerous and can end up spreading to other parts of your body and put your life at risk.
Melanoma can be easily spotted, but since it can look as innocuous as an average mole it can often go left unnoticed, therefore, untreated.
Luckily, when spotted early on 98% of people diagnosed with melanoma can be treated and cured. It is only after it spreads or metastasizes to other organs that it becomes risky or less survivable.
– Chemotherapy- A systemic therapy meant to help treat and rid the body of the melanoma.
– Clinical Trials- These are research studies where more evidence is needed to see how they would work for treatment for melanoma. This is an experimental treatment often recommended for people without other options.
– Immunotherapy- Systemic therapy like Imlygic or Interleukin-2.
– Radiation- Energy rays are utilized to try and kill cancerous cells. It can help those with severe symptoms or people whose cancer has spread to the brain or the bones.
– Surgery- A very common treatment used to just remove the melanoma entirely when possible.
– Targeted Therapy- Drugs are used to target the specific area or cells and help rid the body of the melanoma.