Let us start with a few statistics as surveys don’t lie. Skin cancer is definitely the most common cancer that is prevalent in the United States. According to current estimates, it is believed that at least one American in five will likely suffer from some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.
According to research, a whopping 9500 Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer daily. Given this mind-blowing data, it is no wonder that we need to be proactive when it comes to our health so that we can detect the signs of cancer at the early stages if we are to beat this fatal disease.
Melanoma can easily be regarded as one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer that appears in the form of cancerous growths and malignant tumors. They often look like moles on the skin and are generally brown or black in color.
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Melanoma is mainly caused by occasional and intense UV exposure that usually leads to sunburn. These symptoms are exacerbated even further for people who are genetically predisposed to Melanoma.
Is Melanoma always fatal?
Melanoma is not always fatal and can be cured if it is detected and treated timely. On the other hand, if it is left unrecognized or untreated for a long time for whatever reason, it can spread to other body parts, and cancer can advance considerably, making it hard to treat the disease.
In such a situation, Melanoma can be fatal. As stated above, Melanoma is the most prevalent type of skin cancer, and it is also the cause of the greatest number of deaths. It is estimated that this year, at least 7,320 Americans are expected to die of this disease.
Therefore, in order to increase your chances of survival, you must know your body well and ensure that you get regular health check-ups to stay on top of your game and know early on if something is not right with your body.
What are the symptoms of Melanoma that has spread?
If your melanoma has been left undetected for too long and has spread to your other body parts, it means that you have developed an advanced or metastatic cancer. Doctors also call it Stage IV Melanoma.
A Melanoma that has spread to your brain, lungs, liver, lymph nodes and/or the tissue under your skin usually shows a different set of symptoms as opposed to when it is in the early stages. In the case of advanced or metastatic cancer, you might experience some or all of the symptoms mentioned below:
- Numbness or weakness in the legs and arms
- Headaches and seizures
- Weight loss
- Bone pain or in rare cases, broken bones
- Loss of appetite or swelling in your liver
- Painful or swollen lymph nodes
- Hardened lumps that you can feel under your skin
Although metastatic Melanoma might be incurable in some cases, more often than not, timely skin cancer treatment can help you live a better and longer life. In addition to that, thanks to new therapies and a revolutionary cancer probe, melanoma might just be beatable after all.
Quantum sensor or cancer probe for early detection of Melanoma
With the advent of technology, humans are certainly living easier, healthier and more comfortable lives than ever. Thanks to a portable probe developed by the University of British Columbia, we might just be able to illuminate suspicious looking moles on our bodies.
A team of researchers at UBC have developed the prototype of a portable probe which is an extremely low-cost handheld device. Thanks to this device, doctors can detect the presence of skin cancer in an individual without doing a biopsy.
This means that we could potentially be looking at an entirely non-invasive procedure where no tissue from your body needs to be tested or biopsied in a laboratory in order to verify cancer in an individual.
This revolutionary device makes Melanoma screening possible without having major surgery.
The device might help doctors in the future to screen patients with moles by merely shining a light on the affected area. This device can potentially be the ticket to diagnosing and treating cancer cases on time and reducing the fatality rate significantly.
The lead author of the study, Daniel Louie shares on this new development, “Skin cancer is very common, but unfortunately, dermatologists are not. This can result in long wait times to see an expert. Patients in rural areas may have to travel large distances to see a dermatologist. An accessible skin cancer screening tool should help more people receive faster and more efficient care.”
As is evident from Louie’s remark, people might not have to ignore worrisome moles any longer. This probe that is similar to a mammogram in its purpose can assist healthcare professionals in taking a call on whether or not they need to biopsy a suspicious lump in a patient.
Although this cancer probe is still in its development stages and is awaiting clinical testing and technical refinements on a large scale, it shows great promise. This technology might prove to be a very valuable complement to the standard diagnostic procedures that we see today for skin care treatment.
In addition to that, it is said to be affordable which means specialists, as well as family physicians, may not have to worry about the expense of providing lifesaving medical treatment.
We live in an age where cancer is as widespread as the common flu, and there is no definitive cure to beat this fatal disease. That said, we can take the initiative and charge of our own health by being proactive and conscious of our overall well-being.
Remember that early detection is key to curing cancer. Therefore, notwithstanding cancer probes, be alert, take precautions and get regular health check-ups done from your physician.