Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self-check video for Melanoma (or other skin cancers)

After many decades of sun and surf, I’ve finished up with a circular bald patch on my scalp where a melanoma was removed last year.

Such skin cancers can happen to anyone at all, typically appearing from teenage onwards. It’s particularly distressing to see beautiful young people dying quite quickly from skin cancer, with melanomas being the prime cause.

If detected and removed early enough, there’s a fair chance of recovery and hanging around on this wonderful blue planet of ours for five to ten years or even longer.

In my case, nobody noticed the melanoma brewing away atop my noggin. Its presence was confirmed only after I decided to go to a specialist for another skin spot, and he found it while doing a complete body scan. (I’m quite surprised that various hairdressers over the years didn’t ever commented on it.)

You owe it to yourself (plus those near and dear to you) to check your skin REGULARLY for the appearance of suspect moles and other skin spots.


The University of Queensland (Australia) has put together a video to help people carry out skin self-assessments: How-to skin check video - Useful for men 50 years or older

I suppose that old blokes are rather careless about their health (but we know that it applies to anyone of any age, don’t we?). A recent Australian study showed that men over 50 ignoring skin cancer risks despite awareness campaigns 

A Swedish study that men living alone have higher risk of death from skin cancer:

“Cutaneous malignant melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. The disease is one of the fastest growing cancers among Caucasian (white) populations and is an escalating health problem even among young individuals.”

The Swedish study mentions that “Melanoma of the skin can be cured if the tumour is surgically removed before the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body” and that’s certainly what I’m hoping for in my case.

In my readings I’ve discovered that melanoma is frighteningly aggressive in its spread (metastasis). The biggest criticism is that the video is prudish in not mentioning that checks must include the entire groin region, front and back. You should also check the less obvious spots, such as between the toes.

Some forms of melanoma are worse that others, see: Nodular Melanoma, Form Of Skin Cancer That Grow 4X Faster Than Others, Has Doctors Warning Patients

Although nodular melanoma only accounts for 15 percent of melanoma cases, it is also to blame for 43 percent of deaths caused by melanoma.

Then there’s the frightening way that melanoma cells work their way all over the body. See Skin cancer cure step closer as Manchester scientists mimic way cells 'wriggle' through body:

“The life-threatening cells form different shapes allowing them to squeeze their way out of tumours, travel through the bloodstreams or even raid soft tissues such as the brain. The cells can also assume a long thin shape giving the life-threatening disease the ability to travel through harder tissues like bone.”

Surely that’s quite scary!

Australian doctors have been told recently to warn patients about The killer pimple: Doctors warn of aggressive form of skin cancer which is six times more likely to kill if it is not removed within two months (be sure to watch the video), and there’s more at Some melanomas present as harmless-looking pimples

I’m sure that all the above makes for very unpleasant reading, but if it leads to even a single extra person getting early treatment I’ll be very pleased.

1 comment:

  1. When I had my scan recently, the Dr. kept mumbling, nothing to see here - boring!

    I guess that was a good thing!