Malignant Melanoma/ Skin Cancer Treatment in Navi  Mumbai

Malignant Melanoma / Skin Cancer

Malignant melanoma is an aggressive variety of skin cancer that develops in melanin-producing cells of the skin called melanocytes. Melanin is the pigment that renders colour to the skin. Melanomas can develop anywhere in the body, especially in areas such as the back, legs, arms, and face that are exposed to the sun. They can also occur in less sun-exposed areas like feet, palms of hands, and fingernail beds, which are more common in people with darker skin. Melanoma rarely develops in the eyes, nose, or throat.

The exact cause of melanomas is not known. However, increased exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning lamps increases the risk of developing melanoma. Taking measures to prevent exposure to UV rays can decrease your risk of developing melanomas. Also, the risk of developing melanomas is higher in females below 40 years of age.

Being acquainted with the warning signs and symptoms of skin cancer can help ensure that it is detected early and treated at a time when it is still in its early stages and not spread to a point where it is untreatable. Early signs and symptoms of melanoma include:

  • Change in a pre-existing mole
  • A new coloured mole or unusual-looking growth on the skin

Normal moles are uniform in colour, such as tan, brown or black. They have a well-defined border separating the mole from the surrounding skin. They are oval or spherical and generally smaller than 1/4 inch or 6 millimetres in diameter. Most moles appear in childhood, and new moles may develop until 40. Most people may have 10 to 40 moles by the time they are adults. The nature of moles may change over time; some may even disappear.

  • Shape
    Asymmetrical or irregular-looking moles with ill-defined borders
  • Colour changes
    Change in the colour of a pre-existing mole or a mole with uneven colour distribution
  • Diameter
    A new growth in a mole larger than 6 millimetres
  • Changing mole
    Change in a mole over time, like an increase in size, colour, or shape. A mole may also develop bleeding or induce itching

Cancerous moles differ greatly in appearance. Some may exhibit all of the features mentioned above, while others may have only one or two features

  • Hidden melanomas
    When melanoma develops in parts of the body that are not sun-exposed such as the areas of the toes, palms, soles, scalp, or the genital organs, they are called hidden melanomas. They are named so because they occur in areas most people wouldn't think to check. Hidden melanomas are more common in people with darker or hyperpigmented skin.
  • Acral-lentiginous melanoma
    It is a rare type of melanoma that can present under a fingernail or a toenail. It can also occur on the palms of the hand or soles of the feet and is more common in black people or people with hyperpigmented skin.
  • Mucosal melanoma
    It occurs in the mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, oesophagus, anus, urinary tract and the vagina. It is quite difficult to detect because they resemble the lesions found in other medical conditions
  • Ocular melanoma
    It occurs in the eye, most commonly in the uveal part, the layer beneath the white portion of the eye called the sclera. Ocular melanoma can cause vision changes, and it can be diagnosed with an eye exam.

If you see some unusual changes in your skin, as discussed above, you can visit Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Navi Mumbai and take an appointment with an expert doctor.

Normally, the skin cells develop in a controlled and organised way. The new healthy skin cells push older cells towards the skin's surface, where they are shed. But when mutations occur in the DNA of some cells, new cells grow in an uncontrolled and disorganised way, giving rise to the formation of a tumour. Certain environmental and genetic factors are responsible for this DNA mutation, with UV rays exposure being the leading cause.

Apart from exposure to UV rays, as discussed above, other risk factors increase the chances of developing melanoma.

  • Fair skin
    Fair-skinned people have less melanin in their skin. Melanin is a protective pigment against the damaging UV rays of the sun. Due to lesser melanin content, their skin is more susceptible to UV rays damage, therefore, leading to the development of melanoma. However, some forms of melanoma are more common in darker people, including Hispanics.
  • Repeated sunburns
    Repeated sun damage resulting in blistering sunburns increase the risk of developing melanomas.
    A history of sunburn. One or more severe, blistering sunburns can increase your risk of melanoma.
  • Living at high altitudes or closer to the equator
    Those who live closer to the earth's equator are more susceptible to developing melanoma. This is because they are at higher risk of UV rays exposure from the sun.
  • Presence of unusual moles or too many moles
    Individuals with more than fifty ordinary moles in different body parts or even a few unusual-looking moles are at a higher risk of developing melanoma. Unusual moles are medically termed dysplastic nevi. They are usually larger than normal moles and have non-uniform colours or borders.
  • Family history of melanoma
    The chances of having melanoma increase if a family member or blood relative has the disease.
  • Immunocompromised status
    Individuals with a weak immune system are more susceptible to developing melanomas and other forms of skin cancers. An individual may be immunocompromised if he takes immunosuppressive medications for a prolonged period of time, like after organ transplants or if he is suffering from a disease like AIDS that weakens the immune system.

There are certain ways you can minimize your risks of developing skin cancer.

  • Avoid sun exposure
    The sun's rays are the strongest during the middle of the day, between about 10 am to 4 pm. You can try to avoid outdoor activities during this time of the day. Sun exposure accumulated over time may lead to skin cancers, so it should be minimized as much as possible.
  • Wear a sunscreen
    Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection formula of more than 30 all year round. Use it generously and reapply every two hours if you work outside or are exposed to the sun's rays.
  • Use protective clothing
    Wearing dark, tightly woven clothes that adequately cover the arms and the legs when exposure
  • Observe your skin
    Be familiar with your skin and be observant of any changes that may occur over time, such as changes in the appearance, colour, or shape of a pre-existing mole or the development of a new mole freckle or a bump. It would be best also to examine your chest, back, undersides of the arms and hands, front and back of the back and the legs, and the genital area for any unusual hidden moles.
  • Physical examination
    You will be asked a few questions about your own health, following which an expert doctor will examine your skin for any signs indicating melanoma.
  • Biopsy
    A sample of the suspicious tissue is removed and sent for histopathological laboratory examination. The type of biopsy to be conducted depends on your overall health, type of cancer, and other factors.

If you are looking for the best Malignant Melanoma treatment hospital in Navi Mumbai, your search is over. Our oncology team comprising the best Medical Oncologists in Navi Mumbai formulates a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient after discussing the pros and cons of every procedure with you and your family. The treatment of melanoma depends on the size of the cancer, its stage and the extent of spread. The patient's personal preferences and overall health are also considered when deciding the next treatment options for a particular case of melanoma.

Small, early-stage melanomas are removed by surgery. During the surgery, entire cancer and a margin of healthy tissue are removed. A very thin melanoma can be completely resected during a biopsy, and no further treatment is required.

Surgery to resect the lymph nodes involved: If melanoma has involved the nearby lymph nodes, those need to be removed surgically. Additional treatment modalities may be used before and after the surgery.

  • Immunotherapy
    This treatment modality uses drugs to stimulate the immune system to fight the cancer cells more effectively. It works by interfering with some protective proteins on the surface of the cancer cells. It is often used post-surgery for advanced melanoma cases.
  • Targeted therapy
    This therapy uses specialised drugs to specifically target the cancer cells while sparing the normal cells of the body. Targeted therapy is used in melanoma when cancer involves lymph nodes or spreads to other parts of the body.
  • Radiation therapy
    This therapy uses high-energy radiation from X-rays or protons to destroy the cancer cells. It is used to treat melanomas that cannot be entirely removed with surgery. It is also used to relieve symptoms of metastatic melanomas.
  • Chemotherapy
    Special drugs called chemotherapeutic agents are used to destroy cancer cells. These drugs are either given intravenously or in oral form.