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What is melanoma?

In the lower part of the epidermis are the melanocytes that produce the pigment melanin. It is this melanin that gives our skin its color. Sometimes, the melanocytes go into hyperactivity and produce excessive melanin that causes the skin to start tanning or darkening.
Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, the dangers that it is exposed to are also great. When this production of melanin becomes excessive, deposits called melanoma starts to form. This disease is called cutaneous melanoma because it is only on the top surface.
This condition can occur anywhere on the body and often starts from the head, neck, arms, or legs. Excessive exposure to sunlight and the appearance of unusual moles on the skin can cause this condition. People who go to tanning booths are also often at a high risk of developing this disorder.

Remedy for Melanoma

Melanoma treatment basically focuses on the elimination of any lesions that might appear on the skin so that any spread can be prevented. Sometimes, for some individuals, there is no melanoma cure and therefore complete elimination is not possible. Also the location of the melanoma is sometimes such that other therapies and treatments need to be resorted to.
The following methods are used for the treatment of melanoma:

  • Chemotherapy — This is the most commonly used cure for melanoma. This therapy uses medicines to slow down the rate at which cancerous cells grow in the body. However, chemotherapy has an effect on the cells that are continuously growing in the body like the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal lining, and hair. 
  • Dacarbazine (DTIC) — This is a chemotherapy drug most actively used for melanoma cure. It helps shrink the tumors partially and the response rate is also somewhat low. On an average, the benefit of this drug stays for a maximum period of six months.
  • Immunotherapy — This is a treatment for melanoma where the body’s immune system is encouraged to slow down the growth of these cancerous cells. The therapy has different side effects than chemotherapy. In immunotherapy, the patient usually experiences chills, low fever, fatigues, aches in muscles and joints, and frequent headaches.
  • Other treatments — There are several other melanoma remedies. Especially from protein antibodies called monoclonal antibodies. Vaccines, adoptive immunotherapy and targeted cellular treatments are some other treatments. In addition to that, gene therapy and angiogenic agents are also used for severe cases.