Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but it’s one of the most dangerous if it’s not caught early. This is due to the ease at which it can spread to other areas of the body. Take a closer look at what melanoma is and some of the facts that might surprise you.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a malignant skin cancer that starts in a very specific skin layer. The top layers of skin are called the epidermis. Below that is the dermis that’s full of squamous cells.
Where the epidermis and dermis meet are the melanocyte cells. Melanocyte cells are responsible for the pigment that creates the tan or brown skin color you get from exposure to the sun. If skin cancer forms in these cells, it’s known as melanoma.
Facts About Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers
Around 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Melanomas can appear anywhere, but they’re most likely to appear on a man’s chest, back, and torso and a woman’s legs.
Only three in ten melanomas start in an existing mole. A dermatologist will look for new lesions and discolored areas of the skin. Generally, melanoma will have uneven edges. It doesn’t have to be a dark color. Melanomas can be pinkish or closely match the color of your skin.
A skin cancer mapping and examination isn’t difficult. You’ll dress in a robe, and the dermatologist will go over each mole, freckle, and spot on your body and examine it. If there are suspicious lesions or moles, a small, circular punch biopsy tool can remove them to have them examined at a lab.
One in five adults will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer with 3.6 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Don’t panic that a new lesion or mark is melanoma, around 186,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year.
Skin cancer can appear in people who do not spend much time in the sun. Around 30% of aggressive melanomas are not linked to UV exposure.
Some melanomas disappear on their own. It’s believed that the immune system may be able to kill off a melanoma, but it’s still important to talk to a doctor. Sometimes, the melanoma disappears after it’s already started to spread to other areas of the body.
The Benefits of Skilled Nursing Care After a Melanoma Diagnosis
Because there is a belief that the immune system can kill off melanoma cancer, immunotherapy is one option for treating this cancer. Immunotherapy is administered through an IV infusion. A skilled nurse can do that in a home setting if approved by the oncologist.
Surgical removal is another option after melanoma is diagnosed. Skilled nursing care is a good way to ensure incisions are cleaned properly, dressed with clean, sterile bandages, and inspected for signs of infection.
Chemotherapy and radiation are the other common treatment options. Nurses may be able to provide chemotherapy IV infusions at home. Radiation is performed in a cancer treatment center or hospital.
No matter what the treatment option is, talk to your dad’s oncologist about the benefits of having skilled nursing care arranged for his cancer treatment days. The emotional support and access to the skilled nurse’s medical expertise will make a big difference in his recovery.
If you or someone you know needs skilled nursing care in Buffalo, MN, contact Adara Home Health. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.