Understanding Acral Melanoma: Insights from an Oncologist
Acral Melanoma is a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer that affects the hands, feet, and nails. It is the most common type of melanoma in dark-skinned individuals but can also occur in individuals with light skin. Unfortunately, due to its rarity and location on the body, it is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed until the cancer has progressed.
So, what do you need to know about Acral Melanoma? We spoke with an oncologist to gain insights into this disease and what patients and their loved ones can expect.
Causes and Risk Factors
While the exact causes of Acral Melanoma are unknown, certain risk factors have been identified. According to our oncologist, UV radiation exposure does not play a significant role in the development of Acral Melanoma, as it often does with other types of melanoma. Instead, genetics and environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals, viruses or stressful life events, may play a role.
Some factors that may increase the risk of developing acral melanoma include:
• A family history of the disease
• History of other types of skin cancer
• Having a weakened immune system
• Viral infections such as HPV
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Acral Melanoma can be difficult to detect, as the early signs and symptoms can mimic those of other, more common, skin conditions. The most common symptoms of Acral Melanoma include:
• A painful, mysterious bump or sore on the palms of hands, soles of feet or under the nail
• A mole or dark spot on the skin that changes in shape, size, or color
• A black or brown streak or discoloration under the nail that extends to the surrounding skin
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to see a dermatologist or oncologist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis. Diagnosis typically involves a biopsy, where a small sample of tissue is removed from the affected area and examined under a microscope.
Treatment and Prognosis
According to our oncologist, treatment for Acral Melanoma depends on several factors such as the stage, location, and overall health of the patient. Surgery is the most common treatment option for Acral Melanoma, where the cancerous tissue is removed along with a small area of healthy tissue to ensure complete removal. Chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy may also be used in combination with surgery, depending on the individual case.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for Acral Melanoma is generally poorer than other types of melanoma, as it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage. However, early detection and treatment can improve the chances of successful treatment and survival.
#AcralMelanomaAwareness #SkinCancerAwareness #KnowYourBody #EarlyDetection #FightCancer
In summary, Acral Melanoma is a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer that often goes undiagnosed until the cancer is advanced. If you notice any unusual symptoms such as a painful bump, sore or mole on your hands, feet, or nails, it is important to see a dermatologist or oncologist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis. Early detection and treatment can improve the chances of successful treatment and survival. #HEALTH