Unfortunately, treatment prognosis for malignant melanoma remains very poor. Recently, radiation therapy has become the primary point of analysis in the context of treating malignant melanoma. Askoxylakis, Debus and Bischof (2010) write that radiation therapy plays an important role in treating various forms of skin cancer: irradiation of malignant melanomas is associated with enhanced locoregional control of various tumors and can successfully abate the symptoms in the palliative treatment of this form of tumors.
However, the effectiveness of radiation therapy at the latest stages of the disease is minimal; also, malignant melanoma is highly resistant to all forms of chemotherapy (Askoxylakis, Debus & Bischof, 2010). Primary melanomas are successfully cured through wide local excision (Rubis & Lawrence, 2009). Yet, even surgery and timely identification do not always guarantee successful treatment outcomes. “Patients with advanced disease may well be candidates for clinical trials, but their prognosis is poor, and patients with metastasic disease will need good quality palliative care” (Gaze & Wilson 2003, p. 173).
Metastatic malignant melanoma is subject to surgical treatment, but its results are usually disappointing. In the current state of knowledge about malignant melanoma, the participation of nurses plays an important role. Nurses have a potential to recognize malignant melanomas at the earliest stages and thus to increase patient chances to cure the disease. Medical professionals face a challenge of developing improved and more sophisticated diagnostic tools, which will help medical professionals timely identify the presence or potential risks of the disease and to reduce the probability of negative consequences and death.
Conclusion Malignant melanoma is a form of tumor that develops from epidermal melanocytes in the skin and can either be a newly formed lesion or transform from the already existing nevi. The incidence and prevalence of malignant melanoma varies significantly. The basic risk factors include UV irradiation, fair skin, freckling, and multiple nevi. Genetic factors contribute to the development of malignant melanoma risks. Today, medical professionals need to develop more sophisticated diagnostic and treatment instruments, to facilitate the diagnosis and to improve the overall prognosis for malignant melanoma.
Nurse practitioners must become the direct participants of these processes, to give physicians better chances to identify the disease at the earliest stages and to provide them with the fullest information about the patient. Such participation will reduce the probability of negative consequences and death for patients. References Askoxylakis, V. , Debus, J. & Bischof, M. (2010). Radiotherapy of skin cancers. Expert Reviews of Dermatology, 5, 2, 173-181. Barnhill, R. L. & Trotter, M. J. (2004). Pathology of malignant melanoma.
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