A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Surgical Word of the Day

Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious thing.

Today I worked in a general oncology room.  I did wide excision of  melanoma all day long.  Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It develops in the cells that produce melanin, or the part of your skin that produces the pigment or color.  Melanoma can also form in your eyes and  in internal organs, such as your intestines.

The exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can  increase your risk.

The risk of melanoma seems to be increasing in people under 40, especially women. Knowing the warning signs of skin cancer can help ensure that cancerous changes are detected and treated before the cancer has spread. The curative rate of melanoma is better if you detect it early.  The trick is  the “detect it early” thing.  If it’s in plain view, like on your forehead, you will probably live.  If it’s on the bottom of your foot, or right next to your anus, or somewhere you never look, you’re probably going to die.  Bob Marley  died of melanoma.  He had it on his big toe.  Sometimes you catch it early and sometimes you don’t.

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