Melanoma: Toughest Skin Cancer

Skin is one of the most important organs in our body. Our skin provides a significant amount of protection from gaining any dangerous bacteria outside of the body to get inside to our vastly large organ system. Skin produces cells to create massive layers to prevent breaches, but skin cancer is an uncontrollable reproduction of cells. This is caused by a substantial amount of UV radiation from the sun, or more common now tanning beds. Before we get to skin cancer and the its function first I will cover what a normal integumentary system is like with it many layers, then what melanoma is and how it is abnormal to our normal skin and a leading cause. Lastly, I will cover how melanoma can be treated with its surprising great success rate with thousands of patients.

The integumentary system is composed of three main layers to allow lots of prevention from taking any damage to the inner organs. The four main functions for the skin is Protection, sensation, thermoregulation, and vitamin D synthesis. Protection is built by 3 layers consisting of the Epidermis, Dermis, and Hypodermis. The Epidermis layer is mostly composed of dead cells that allow the body to take any little friction from sliding your hand off the table to scratching yourself from a rash or a pimple. There are 5 layers of cells within the epidermis. The stratum corneum, stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and stratum basal. The Corneum, Lucidum, and granulosum are thick layers of dead cells. Whereas Spinosum and Basale some blood vessels and allow them to regenerate and push up to the dead cells over time. As we get deeper the Dermis layer there is a large network with blood vessels and lymph vessels. The dermis layer is much larger than the epidermis layer as it main function it the movement of nutrients and oxygen around the body. So, having a larger surface area for movement is perfect for transporting our everyday need for cells. The final layer is the Hypodermis where we see the roots of our hair and connective tissue. Like all layers hypodermis is important to the skin as its main function is temperature regulation. This layer is mainly composed of fat which helps insolate heat to maintain its temperature of 97.8. while there is lots of fat it also stores nutrients for when there is a shortage, the hypodermis releases some of its stored energy throughout the cells. Vitamin D given that the primary source is sunlight, there are other options for intaking vitamin d. our skin absorbs sunlight when exposed to the sun which then creates energy for the growth of our bones and keeping them strong.

For the most part, the three main common cancerous cells that we see adults get in their lifetime. There is Basal cell carcinoma, which is the least malignant, the second most common Squamous cell carcinoma, and lastly the most dangerous, Melanoma. Melanoma is what I will be coving as it is the most dangerous skin cancer that develops in the body for some humans. Melanoma from the start originates all from a simple mole. Our body has a vast number of moles all around our body which allows various opportunities for melanoma for form. For this case of this being the most dangerous cell of all, is due to the way it develops in our melanocytes. Our melanocytes are present in our skin to produce melanin which is a specific pigment color that allows the visual presentation of our skin color compared to others. There are a few unique abnormalities that one can detect by its anatomical view. We know that its main origination is the mole, so we look there. Our moles (normal) tend to grow in a uniform way that we can identify its appearance. It’s usually colors involve black, brown, or tan given that some people have some UV radiation on the body. While this is seen for a normal mole, melanoma is easily distinguished by the comparison of a normal mole. This cancer cell is easily looked at our moles. If there is a growth or a stretch at some area of the mole it could be the growth or formation of this melanoma. Now the best way to surely indicate melanoma without a diagnosis is our ABCDE. It may seem foolish that using our alphabetical letters for something serious but it’s a very helpful acronym. A stands for asymmetry are by splitting the mole into 2 equal sides and determining if both sides match equally. B is the border irregularity: the irregularity borders of the mole. C the color; given that the standard colors of a mole is black, brown, or tan. if noticing any other color could be one identification of melanoma. Lastly D is for the diameter: size is very important for an abnormality of a mole as it shouldn’t be bigger than 6mm which is fairly a pencil eraser. A simple cause that we can all assume is the UV radiation. Although we have many layer in our skin to protects from any damage, UV rays are still strong enough to damage our exterior organ. Melanoma like all cancer cells is formed by an excess amount of sunlight to the skin. Tanning beds and tanning lamps are also a couple of side objects that can produce the form of melanoma on your skin.

Melanoma is yet on of the toughest skin cancers to get rid off but there are some promising solutions. Surgery is one of the main treatments. As one undergoes surgery, they cut small portions of your skin at a time to make sure they don’t necessarily penetrate thought the connective tissue that is difficult and time-consuming to regenerate. In some cases, doctors may remove lymph nodes which are sites that play an important role in the immune system that contain some white blood cells that help fight infections. When melanoma has begun spreading it fist hits these lymph nodes which doctors detected and remove them with the mole because they can continue spreading along the body. Given that this is the most dangerous skin cancer cell in the body there are quite several deaths from this disease. In 2019 there were an estimated 9,320 deaths of individuals who had melanoma in their body with out any recognition or treatment applied. Out of the 9,320 individuals 5,990 where males and the remainder 3,330 were females that diagnosed with melanoma. Now, this number is considerably low given that the united states have millions of people and only about 1 in 5 Americans will become diagnosed with some level of skin cancer. For such a serious and deadly cancer in our skin, the cure rate or success rate is a respectable 95% due to the quick detection that many see in their body and doctors pointing it out to patients. All in all, the best way to prevent or close the time gap of spreading is to protect your skin with sunscreen and less time under the sun.

We all know in our world when devastating news arises, we tend to care for the moment, and as time passes by its like nothing happened. Although this may be the cause for melanoma, the term Cancer when others hear the word, they tend to focus their attention and act quickly. Skin cancer is no joke even though its not like the big cancers such as breast cancer or brain cancer, it’s still deadly if untreated. Big advisement I would propose for all to use is sunscreen. We know that sunscreen is seen as only used for going out to the beach or being around the pool, but every day we face the sun and even with out atmosphere reducing our UV intake it isn’t enough for some. Sunscreen with an FPS of 30 or higher are the best ones for one’s skin and they are more durable for daily wear and going out in the sun. given that I have gone this far to write this paper on a topic that would have never come across my mind has opened my eyes to protecting the most important organ in our body, our skin. This course has changed my viewpoint to what we intake in our body to what affects our skin externally. Given that it’s the most obvious risk factor for skin cancer the UV radiation from the sun. I can now try my best to limit my amount of UV radiation and wear sunscreen to prevent from my future of getting skin cancer.

07 July 2022
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