Description – introduce the disease / disorder you chose. Briefly give an overview of the disorder, how prevalent it is, how it impacts patients or society (is it a leading cause of death, or sterility, or cancer?)
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer in the cells that produce melanin and is the most dangerous. As stated by Skin Cancer Foundation one person dies of melanoma every hour. Melanoma cases have increased 53% in the last 10 years. If you had more than five sunburns your chances of having melanoma are higher.
Etiology – cover what is happening as the cause or causes, completely and at the level of the organ, structure, process or tissues.
Melanomas are mostly caused by genetic factors and ultraviolet radiation. Melanomas arise from melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis or from a nevus, a collection of melanocytes. Melanoma grow quick and reach down deep into the tissues because of this they metastasize quickly by spreading to the lymph nodes and surrounding organs.
Signs and Symptoms (please recall, there is a difference between signs and symptoms. Signs are objective and we can see or measure them; symptoms are what the patient feels, reports. Be sure to cover both.
Signs of melanoma are a change in an existing mole, the development of a new pigmented or abnormal growth on your skin and sores that don’t heal. Symptoms are redness, new swelling beyond the border the mole and change in sensation such as pain and itchiness.
Diagnostic procedures – give the most commonly used procedures and what they are evaluating or will tell us.
In other words, why do the test?
The diagnostic procedures commonly used are punch biopsy, excisional biopsy and incisional biopsy. When a punch biopsy is done a piece of skin is removed with a blade that is pressed into the skin around an unusual mole. An excisional biopsy is performed and the whole mole or growth is removed. Incisional biopsy is done and only the unusual portion of the mole or growth is taken for testing. The type of procedure you will have depends on your case and its severity. When doctors remove the entire growth, the procedure of choice is either punch biopsy or excisional biopsy. Incisional biopsy is usually only performed when other biopsies prove unsuccessful due to factors such as very large mole.
Treatments– give the most common treatments and what the expected improvement is for each, what does the drug, diet modification or whatever the treatment is do, why does it help?
When a biopsy is done, a very thin melanoma can be removed completely, and no additional treatment may be needed. If melanoma spreads beyond the skin and spreads to nearby lymph nodes treatment options may include surgery to remove affected lymph nodes, chemotherapy, radiation, biological and targeted therapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given intravenously, in a pill or both. Radiation therapy uses high powered energy beans to kills cancer cells and can make symptoms less painful if melanoma has reached to other parts of the body. Biological therapy uses the body’s immune system to help fight cancer. These treatments are made of substances produced by the body or in the laboratory. These include interferon and interleukin-2. Target therapy is another treatment option that uses medications to target certain cancer cells. They are used to treat advance melanoma and are only useful if you have a specific genetic mutation.
In stage 1A the tumor size is up to 1mm thick and the survival rate is 97%. In stage 1B the tumor is 1mm plus ulceration or its 2mmm thick with no ulceration and survival rate is 92%. In stage 2 the tumor is more than 2mm thick and survival rate is 67%. Stage 3 the tumor is any size or shape and the survival rate is 24-68%. Stage 4 the cancer has spread to other parts of the body for example lungs, brain, organs and tissues, survival rates is 10-15%.
Some prevention strategies are avoid tanning lamps and beds, wear sunscreen, wear protective clothing and become aware of your skin so you will recognize changes.
The cultural influences are your likelihood of developing melanoma is higher if a close relative has had melanoma. According to American Cancer Society melanoma is 20 times more common in Caucasians than in African Americans. The lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.6% (1 in 38) for Caucasians, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for African Americans, and 0.58% (1 in 172) for Hispanics. (American Cancer Society, 2018)