I’ve been diagnosed with melanoma and I can tell you how to detect this disease before it’s too late

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Melanoma is one of the most aggressive and dangerous types of cancer. But the earlier this disease is diagnosed, the more chance the patient has for a full recovery. The main hero of our article, Alexander Shut, was lucky: he noticed the early signs on time and doctors diagnosed him with a melanoma in the early stages. In his Twitter account, he told a detailed story about what happened to him hoping that this might save someone’s life.

Bright Side wants you to read this material carefully and see a specialist if you have any suspicions. The article was checked by Alexander’s doctors, but it can’t be better than a visit to a real doctor and we only wrote it to give you information about this disease.

  • This summer, I was diagnosed with melanoma — a very dangerous oncological disease. It is also called the “Cancer Queen.” And because all of us are in the risk group, I’m writing these posts about melanoma: how to find it and get rid of it in time.
  • Anybody can have melanoma. In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of people that have melanoma. This is because sunbathing is very trendy. UV light is the main reason why this type of tumor appears.
  • As the name suggests, melanoma develops from the cells that produce melatonin. This pigment is responsible for skin color, hair color, and iris color. This is why Africans are black and white people become darker after UV light exposure.
  • In the beginning, it may cause you no harm at all. At this stage, all you have to do is have the mole itself and the skin around it removed. And you can forget about cancer.
  • But few people know what suspicious moles even look like and they only go to doctors when this small mole starts to cause trouble, in other words: grow, become higher than skin level, or bleed. At this point, the body may already have metastases.
  • Melanoma is not only dangerous because there are no signs at the early stage, but also because it is extremely aggressive when metastases develop.
  • Now, about the early diagnosing of melanoma: There is about 95–98% chance that spotting it early saved my life. My tumor was found at an early stage and removed. It didn’t have enough time to spread around the body. But I’ll be able to tell for sure only in about 5 years.
  • At this point, I need regular checks by my oncologist. Ultrasound scans of lymph nodes, CT scans, and self-checks of my skin.
  • This was what my melanoma looked like. It didn’t look any different from any other mole on my body. The right photo is the same mole seen through a special device called a dermatoscope.
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  • I knew about melanoma, what it was, and how it was diagnosed. So, I just decided to get my moles checked. I thought that my other moles were cancerous. But the one I didn’t even think about turned out to be cancer.
  • The point of these posts is to get you up from the couch and get you to visit your dermatologist. You will have to map your moles and check your skin once every year. But before that, look over your moles.
  • There are several criteria for “bad” moles. There is a method called “A, B, C, D, E.”
    А (Asymmetry) — If a mole is asymmetric, go to your dermatologist.
    В (Border) — wrong, blurry lines. If you see something like this, you need a doctor.
    C (Color) — heterogeneous color. If the color of the mole is different in different parts or the color is fading — run to your doctor.
    D (Diameter) — the mole started to increase in diameter or it was very big in the first place? No need to postpone your doctor appointment.
    E (Evolution) — changes in the mole. Growth, shrinking, sticking out. You know what to do.
  • Of course, the fans of tanning salons and beautiful tan skin need to just forget about it, don’t sunbathe from 10 am to 4 pm, and use sunscreens.
  • I was out of the risk group: I have dark hair, brown eyes, and dark skin. So, don’t relax. Watch your skin — we’ve all gotten sunburned.
  • Can black people get melanoma? Of course, they can. The most famous black person that had it was Bob Marley. He could have survived if he hadn’t refused to have his big toe amputated for religious reasons. He had a melanoma on it.
  • If you have visited a dermatologist and all of your moles are normal, take a deep breath and watch them yourself. Especially the new moles. The old ones rarely become cancerous.
  • If a doctor has doubts after the exam — have the mole removed. But! Only with a scalpel with the skin around it, and send it for a test. No lasers or coagulators! If the mole is “burned” the test won’t be able to give you any reliable results, so if it was melanoma, several years later, the person might find out that they have metastases.
  • If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, this has to be a challenge for you. Medicine has been making incredible progress in treating cancer and the earliest stages of cancer are curable. Don’t be afraid!

Do you agree that we should pay more attention to our health in order to have fewer problems in the future?

Preview photo credit observerua / twitter.com

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