The malignant melanoma prognosis completely depends on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. This article provides a brief information about this medical condition and its prognosis.
Malignant melanoma or melanoma is a type of skin cancer caused due to melanocytes. When body cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner and replace normal cells and tissues, the person is said to get affected by cancer. Melanocytes are nothing but cells that are responsible for pigmentation on our skin. They are present on the skin and produce melanin that is responsible for our skin color. Furthermore, melanoma is a cancerous tumor formed by melanocytes. This tumor is basically found on skin, but it can also be formed on eyes, bowels, and genital organs. In the initial stage, this tumor looks like a normal mole on the skin.
The causes of malignant melanoma are not yet clear, but excessive exposure to sun is considered as one of the risk factors. It is considered as one of the most serious type of cancer, since, this tumor or cancer can spread to other body organs. The cancer cells may start growing into the skin and cause serious illness. This medical condition is curable, if detected in its early stage. Prognosis is nothing but expected outcome of an illness. This helps to know what can be the expected recovery of the affected person from the illness. All types of cancers are analyzed for prognosis, since they contain various stages of the particular cancer.
The prognosis is governed by a number of factors that include, the type of melanoma, stage of melanoma, location of the melanoma, thickness of the tumor, etc. Melanoma can be classified as lentigo maligna melanoma, superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, and acral lentiginous melanoma. The accurate identification of staging is a must to provide proper treatment and make a good prognosis. Malignant melanoma can be divided into 5 stages, stage 0 to stage IV. When stage 0 is detected, prognosis is good and the survival chances are maximum. At stage 0, the melanocytes multiplication is confined only to the upper part of the skin and hence, can be cured. Stages from I to IV are invasive stages, where the cancer starts spreading to other regions. This type of melanoma is called metastatic melanoma. Stage I can also be treated effectively, since, the spread is localized. With increased number of stages, chances of survival decrease, since, the cancer spreads to vital body organs like lungs, liver, bone, etc. Prognosis for metastatic malignant melanoma depends upon the stage, type of melanoma, age, sex, and overall health of the affected person.
Many of the cases of this medical condition are detected at early stages and hence, are cured effectively. The survival rate of this medical condition is directly proportional to the invasion of the melanocytes. If melanomas reach the lymph nodes, then the survival chances decrease a lot. If the melanomas have invaded the lymph nodes, then the immune level of the affected person decreases, which further affects the treatment and prognosis of the cancer. If the cancer has not spread into the skin, then chances of survival increase. With increasing age, the survival chances decreases. Even gender affects the melanoma prognosis. It has been observed that the survival rate of women is greater than men. The survival rate for stage 0 melanoma is more than 90%, and it decreases to less than 10% for stage IV. A five year cure rate can be predicted, if this skin condition is detected in its early stage.
Every year, almost 60,000 melanoma cases occur, causing 8400 deaths. Its early detection can help to recover the affected people effectively. Thus, one should consult a dermatologist at the earliest, when he/she doubts about the presence of this condition on the skin.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.