Any symptom may be significant!
Today, May 19th, marks the beginning of Skin Cancer Awareness Week in Israel.
Prof. Michal Lotem, an Oncologist and a Dermatologist, Director of the Hadassah Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy Center at the Hadassah Sharret Institute of Oncology, discusses Melanoma, a common type of skin cancer.
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Melanoma is a serious type of skin malignancy. It is a cancerous skin tumor, originating in the Melanocytes of the Epidermis (the top layer of the skin) and is the fastest growing malignant tumor in frequency except for lung cancer in women. Morbidity rates in Israel are high, with about 1,200 new patients every year. The growing frequency of melanoma highlights the importance of early detection among patients. A basic physical exam conducted by an experienced dermatologist every six months or so can dramatically increase the chance of early detection.
Early detection of Melanoma has a key role in determining the chances of survival: the most important way of doing it is based on the thickness of the tumor (in millimeters) at the time of diagnoses. When a tumor metastasizes, the chances of responding to treatment are lower.
There are several things you can do to check yourself for possible signs of Melanoma. Focus on birthmarks, beauty marks, skin lesions and large freckles. When performing a self-check, remember your ABCs:
Color (changed, coloring is varied)
Diameter (growing, larger than 6 mm)
If you see any of the following, this may be indicative of nodular melanoma:
Elevated (above skin surface)
You should see your doctor if you notice any of these signs.
During the diagnosis stage, the physician will perform a biopsy by making a small surgical excision of the tumor with a tiny amount of healthy skin attached. This is then sent for a pathological evaluation. The rest of the treatment will be determined based on the anatomical depth of the skin lesion.
At Hadassah, Melanoma vaccines are comprised of the patient’s own tumor cells, or from a donor with an exact tissue match. Next month we will begin an innovative vaccination program specifically for Melanoma patients with an increased likelihood of recurrence. These unique vaccinations were developed at Hadassah and are only available at Hadassah.
The team at Hadassah is comprised of physicians, radiologists, pathologists, and oncology surgeons. The team treats each patient individually and builds a personal treatment plan for every patient based on their individual needs.
For more information, please contact Hani Steinberg – 050-7874292 or Prof. Michal Lotem – 050-8573528