Carcinoma is the medical term for serious invasive cancer of epithelial origin. Melanoma, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and esophageal cancer are a few examples of carcinomas. This article will look into these two terms in detail, highlighting the causes, clinical features, symptoms, investigation and diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of melanoma.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a highly invasive carcinoma. It is an uncontrollable overgrowth of melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for producing skin pigments. Therefore, melanoma can arise from any part of the body where there are melanocytes. In the UK, 3500 new cases are identified per year. 800 people have died only during the last 20 years. Melanoma is commoner among Caucasians. It is commoner in females.
All cancers arise because of an irreparable alteration of skin cell DNA. Sunlight is a major cause of melanoma, especially in early years. Diagnosis of melanoma is tricky. There is a checklist, made in Glasgow, to ensure that no cases are missed. Malignant melanoma may change its size, shape and color. There may also be inflammation, crusting, bleeding and sensory changes. Neighboring satellite lesions can appear, but if they are well demarcated, smooth, and regular, it is unlikely to be a melanoma. Melanoma can be subdivide into lentigo maligna, lentigo maligna melanoma, superficial spreading, acral, mucosa, nodular, polypoid, desmoplastic, and amelonatic melanoma. Although many melanomas conform to these basic rules, nodular melanomas do not. They are elevated, firm nodules, which are rapidly growing. Serum lactate dehydrogenase level rises when there is metastatic spread. CT, MRI, sentinel lymph node biopsies, and skin lesion biopsies may play a role in confirmation of diagnosis. After confirmation, a wide excision of tumor may be performed. Involved may be removed surgically. According to spread, adjuvant immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be needed. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy may be given if the cancer is systemically or locally advanced.
Prevention of exposure to UV light is thought to be preventive of melanoma. As a rule of thumb, avoiding sun exposure between 9 am and 3 pm is a good method. Sun creams and other preparations may help, but there is a risk of allergies and other sin changes with the use of these applications. Less invasive melanomas with lymph node spread have a better prognosis than deep melanomas without lymph node spread. When melanoma is spread to lymph node, the number of involved nodes is related to prognosis. Widely metastatic melanoma is said to be incurable. Patients tend to survive 6 to 12 months after diagnosis.
What is the difference between Melanoma and Carcinoma?
• Carcinoma is a general term for all the invasive uncontrolled abnormal growths of abnormal tissues.
• Melanoma is a carcinoma of the skin pigment cells.
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