How is Melanoma Diagnosed?

How is Melanoma Diagnosed?

Is a mole changing its size, shape or colour? You might be showing signs of melanoma! If not treated immediately melanoma can result in death. You should take action now! For the melanoma to get treated, one should get it diagnosed. There are many ways to diagnose melanoma. What are they? Read on…

Melanoma is a life threatening disease. 75% of cancer deaths arise from melanoma. Melanoma can be treated when it is diagnosed in its early stages.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives the skin its colour.

Melanoma affects the people who are constantly exposed to sunlight. Generally melanoma is observed in northern Europeans and northwestern Europeans.

Melanoma is characterised by changes in the size, shape, colour etc of moles. Moles that have irregular borders and moles that are larger than a pencil eraser size can also be signs of melanoma.

Generally melanoma occurs on the surfaces that are exposed to the sun light. In most cases melanoma is found on the back, legs, arms and face. However melanoma can also occur on other body parts like under the fingernails and toenails, mucous membrane of nose, mouth etc. The eyes can also get affected by melanoma.

How is melanoma diagnosed?

Melanoma is diagnosed in many ways.

Firstly the doctor will conduct a physical examination wherein he will inspect your body from head to toe. If a mole looks suspicious, the doctor will recommend a biopsy to check if the mole is a cause for melanoma.

To detect if a mole is causing melanoma or not, the doctor will carry out any of the following biopsies.

  • Punch biopsy: In punch biopsy the doctor will use a tool with a circular blade. The doctor then presses the tool in the skin and a round piece is removed.
  • Excisional biopsy: In excisional biopsy the doctor will remove the entire mole along with a part of the normal skin.
  • Incisional biopsy: In incisional biopsy the most irregular part of the mole is removed and sent for laboratory analysis.

To determine the stage of melanoma the doctor will conduct the following procedures:

  • The doctor will determine the thickness of the melanoma by observing it under a microscope and measuring it with a special tool. The thicker the melanoma, the more serious is the cancer.
  • To check if the melanoma has spread to the other body parts, the doctor will conduct sentinel node biopsy. In sentinel node biopsy, a dye is injected in the area from where the melanoma was removed; the dye will flow to the nearby lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are removed and tested for cancer. If the lymph nodes are cancer free, the cancer hasn’t spread to the other parts of the body. However, even though the lymph nodes are cancer free, cancer can still spread in the body.

The treatment becomes difficult when melanoma spreads to different parts of the body. It can lead to death. Hence if you suffer from the symptoms of melanoma, get it diagnosed now! Consult a dermatologist online at eVaidya!

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