Demographic Characteristics and Management of Uninsured Patients with a History of Melanoma.
Melanoma is an aggressive type of skin cancer that arises from the pigment-producing
melanocytes of the epidermis. Unlike the more common skin cancers,
basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma is much more likely
to metastasize to other parts of the body, rendering it malignant.
There are many risk factors associated with the development of melanoma
common ones being ultraviolet radiation exposure, use of tanning beds, fair skin,
personal history of any skin cancer, family history of melanoma, and a compromised
Early detection and treatment are of the most important factors in
determining prognosis because they allow for a wider breadth of treatment options,
increasing the likelihood that the chosen treatment will be effective.
Once the lesion invades lymph nodes and spreads systemically
to other parts of the body, it becomes exceedingly difficult to control.
According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, most cases
of melanoma are first treated with surgical excision. In the case that
the melanoma has spread to regional lymph nodes or other body organs,
surgical excision is often accompanied by adjuvant treatment.
Radiation therapy can be used when tumor cells are limited to regional
lymph nodes because it decreases recurrence of disease and subsequent organ metastasis.
Immunotherapy may be used to modify the immune system such that it
may gain the ability to fight off tumor cells. Similar to chemotherapy,
targeted therapy can also be used to kill tumor cells, but it relies on specific
characteristics of the cells such as gene mutations.
With the number of uninsured patients rising, it is becoming more important to determine the prevalence and health outcomes of this population.
Dermatol Open J. 2019; 4(1): 15-19. doi: 10.17140/DRMTOJ-4-136