Melanoma: Thoughts of a Dermatologist

Melanoma: Thoughts of a Dermatologist

Tanning - Melanoma: Thoughts of a Dermatologist

Hi friends. Now, I learned all about Tanning - Melanoma: Thoughts of a Dermatologist. Which could be very helpful to me therefore you.

You have heard the message by now: Melanoma is deadly. You also probably know that it is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and that one American every hour dies from melanoma. Millimeter for millimeter, it is the deadliest cancer. Rather than bore you with statistics on this horrid disease, allow me to share with you some enchanting background you may not have heard before.

What I said. It isn't the conclusion that the real about Tanning. You see this article for facts about a person want to know is Tanning.


There are few historical accounts of melanoma. It was not officially recognized as a disease until 1806 in France. Some years prior in 1787, a perplexed Scottish surgeon named John Hunter was confronted by a large black increase on the jaw of a thirty-five year man. He described it as a "cancerous fungus". Not knowing what it was, he did what surgeons do: he cut it out. Amazingly, it wasn't until 1968 that somebody first looked at it under a microscope confirming it was a melanoma. It had been preserved all this time at the Royal College of Surgeons of England Hunterian Museum in London and still can be viewed today I'm told. The sick person evidently sought out Dr. Hunter a few years later for a recurrence of the increase in the same spot. In a drunken brawl he had been beaten with a stick and the "soft black mass" returned. The fate of the sick person is lost to history. But we do know that it was very unlikely his melanoma returned due to the beating he took.

Since then, there has been no shortage of melanoma. It might surprise you to learn that many of the foremost researchers for melanoma are based in Australia, not the Us. In the 1870's the British government established an Australian penal colony and sentenced criminals to live out there days with kangaroos. The forced emigration of pasty white English convicts to the sunny continent has led to an epidemic of melanoma Some generations later. Australia holds the dissimilarity of being the melanoma capital of the world. We are not far behind however. In 1935 it was estimated that only one in every 1500-2000 Americans would get melanoma. Some decades of bikinis and tanning salons later, the rate is now 1 in 65 and worsening each year. Predictions are now being made for 1 in every 33 of us in the near future; a expected increase.

Interestingly, melanoma is one of the few diseases I can name that tends to sway population from higher socioeconomic groups disproportionately. It is believed this is due to disposable earnings taking families to equatorial destinations for vacations. Vacations in Cancun and Florida equal short but intense periods of sun exposure-the exact same exposure one gets from a tanning bed. It is believed that all those high school girls who tanned for prom back in the 80's and 90's catalogue for the skyrocketing rates of melanoma we are finding in women under 40 currently. Along with breast and thyroid cancer, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young women. If you watch Grey's Anatomy you know that one of the popular lead characters (a thirty-something blond) died from melanoma a few seasons back. While normally, I don't pay much attention to those shows, I applaud the attempt of the writers in raising awareness of this issue. Governor Brown just outlawed tanning bed use for those under 18 in recognition of the link between ultraviolet light and melanoma.

Tanning is not the sole cause for melanoma however. If only this horrid disease were that simple. Genetics play an equally sinister role in this story. We've known for a long time that if you have melanoma, your first degree relatives are much more likely to get melanoma as well. Many of the new treatments specifically target discrete genetic mutations and genes connected with melanoma. Shared genes with pancreatic cancer and perhaps now even some forms of breast cancer are being studied. But tanning is not off the hook. If someone's genetic makeup is the dry cornfield, tanning is the match and kerosene.

As far as mammalian skin goes, human skin in general is a disaster. It offers virtually no safety from the sun. Even very dark African American skin has only a natural Spf of nearby 13-20. Pig skin is the closest equivalent to human skin in its make-up and organization. Surgical trainees commonly begin their studies by operating and sewing pigs' feet and we still sometimes use pig skin grafts when necessary. It has been said "Also like humans, pigs enjoy lying in the sun, tan in response to the sun, and enjoy drinking large quantities of beer."

Now to bore you with a microscopic scientific background: The melanocyte is a cell in our skin that makes our color. Melanoma is the uncontrolled increase of melanocytes. One bad mutation begets two. Then two begets four. Four begets sixteen, and on and on. The general melanocyte resembles an octopus and makes the pigment in our skin. Its long tentacles deliver the pigment (melanin) to the other skin cells. The purpose is to shield the other skin cells from sun damage by enchanting the rays from the sun. When you tan, the melanocytes rev up yield to make more of this shield. When you see tanning, you know Dna damage has occurred in the skin cells. Thus I like to think of a tan as tears of the melanocytes cried over their neighboring cells.

We are in the midst of a skin cancer epidemic with no end in sight. While most skin cancers are not life threatening, they can necessitate full, surgical operation and cause deformities that need surgical correction. However, melanoma is a separate story. Luckily, the North State enjoys a stellar variety of dermatologists and surgeons skilled in these arts. While practically 100% curable if caught early, melanoma has a dismal survival rate once it spreads beyond the skin and into other organs. There is no known definitive cure. (please read that last statement again)

Up until the last few years, we have beyond doubt been no good off in the medicine of developed melanoma than Dr. Hunter was back in 1787. The lack of enlarge in practically 225 years is embarrassing to me as a dermatologist. Now the study pipeline is full of treatments advent our way. A melanoma vaccine led the way and has been extensively studied but has not lived up to the hype yet. One new breakthrough medication turns the immune system against the melanoma cells. Unfortunately for Brits, it has just been rejected by England's national health care panel as not cost efficient for their society. The drug boasts a 20% three-year survival rate (or put other way a full 80% of population with metastatic melanoma who take it, will pass away in three years). At 0,000 per sick person per year, it beyond doubt raises a lot of philosophical and ethical quandaries. Luckily, there are handfuls of other promising new treatments on the horizon. Hopefully they may be priced more reasonably.

If you or man you know has metastatic melanoma, talk to your physician about enrolling in a study. Gone are the days when you will be randomly excellent to receive the study drug or doomed to unknowingly receive the sham placebo treatment. I have Some patients with developed melanoma doing quite well in a few studies thus far. It also gives meaning to their suffering and a opening to fight back. While preparing this record it dawned on me that perhaps no other cell in the body has been responsible for more misery in mankind than the melanocyte. Historically, the functions of your melanocytes could doom you to a live of slavery, limit your martial prospects, curb your economic potentials, or simply make you drink from a separate water fountain.

In conclusion, I would encourage each of you to see a dermatologist for a full skin exam. You may say to yourself, "My moles look fine. Nothing has changed". To which I would ask, "Would you bet your life on it?"

I hope you will get new knowledge about Tanning. Where you can offer utilization in your day-to-day life. And most of all, your reaction is passed about Tanning. Read more.. Melanoma: Thoughts of a Dermatologist.

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