A type of skin cancer, melanoma is a medical condition marked by a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Aside from the skin, this disease also affects other important body parts, namely the eye and the bowel. It is one of the deadliest types of cancer, affecting almost 160,000 individuals each year in the United States alone. The World Health Organization reported that melanoma causes approximately 48,000 deaths annually all throughout the world. Aside from these interesting facts, it is also good to know certain things about the history of this disease including who discovered melanoma.
The Discovery of Melanoma
Who discovered melanoma? As a disease, a French physician named Rene Laennac first described melanoma. He reported it in 1804 as part of the Faculte de Medecine de Paris lecture that was held in France. He then published it in 1806 as a bulletin. In 1820, an English general practitioner named William Norris reported melanoma for the very first time in English. One of his notable works was entitled “Eight Cases of Melanosis with Pathological and Therapeutical Remarks on That Disease.”
In 1787, Scottish surgeon John Hunter reportedly operated on what was believed to be metastatic melanoma. He took out something from a patient that was described as ‘cancerous fungous excrescence.’ Until now, this tumor is preserved at the Royal College of Surgeons of England Hunterian Museum in London. In 1840, a surgeon named Samuel Cooper considered individuals with advanced stage melanoma untreatable. For him, the only chance for patients to survive the disease was to remove the tumor.
It is possible to increase survival rates through the early detection of melanomas. They must always check for moles including their colors, sizes and shapes. The physical characteristics of melanomas include multiple colors and irregular lesions. Likewise, they are greater in size compared to smaller moles.
There are various ways to prevent the onset of melanomas. At all times, it is best to minimize ultraviolet radiation exposure. Do not spend too much time under the sun, especially if the skin is not protected. In terms of clothing, it is easier to protect oneself from the harmful rays of the sun by wearing broad-brimmed hats, long trousers as well as long-sleeved shirts. Wear sunscreens before going out the house especially during daytime. Use sunscreens that contain ingredients such as titanium, zinc and avobenzone, all of which are guaranteed effective against ultraviolet rays.
In terms of treatment, there are many options available. These include radioimmunotherapy, radiation therapy and lentigo maligna treatment. In some cases, recommend chemotherapy, adjuvant treatment and surgery. Three of the best surgical procedures for this medical problem are lymphoscintigraphy, lymphadenectomy and Mohs surgery.