Melanin is the pigment that gives skin, moles, eyes and hair their color. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes. When cancer originates in the melanocytes, it is called melanoma. Although melanomas most often develop as a form of skin cancer , they can develop elsewhere in the body. Melanoma isn’t as common as other types of skin cancer, but it can be more aggressive. If you have concerns about your risk of skin cancer or if you’ve spotted a suspicious lesion on your skin, you can find the answers you’re looking for at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Types of melanoma
There are three primary types of melanoma.
- Cutaneous melanoma: Skin cancer
- Mucosal melanoma: Cancer of the mucous membranes
- Ocular melanoma: Cancer of the eye
Causes of melanoma
According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, an estimated 90 percent of melanoma diagnoses are associated with unprotected UV exposure. Unprotected exposure to sunlight and indoor tanning beds inflicts damage to the DNA in the skin cells. This triggers other abnormal changes, which can sometimes lead to the development of cancer.
Other risk factors of melanoma include the following:
- Presence of multiple moles
- Family history of melanoma
- Fair skin that freckles and burns easily
- Suppressed immune system
- Certain inherited skin conditions
Treatments for melanoma
Treatment for melanoma is more likely to be successful when the cancer is detected early. Once melanoma begins to spread to other parts of the body, this disease becomes deadlier and treatments are less effective.
Surgery is often used, especially when melanoma is detected early. Sometimes, surgery is the only cancer treatment that a patient will need. Other patients may have some combination of the following treatments:
- Radiation therapy
Cancer Care Services at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center maintains our enduring commitment to healthcare excellence within our dedicated oncology unit. We understand that cancer patients and their families have unique needs, which is why we’re pleased to offer educational resources and amenities you won’t find elsewhere. Call (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral from a friendly member of our nursing staff.
Most skin rashes are minor and may be treated at home or with a non-emergent appointment with a family physician, but if discoloration of the skin is accompanied by other symptoms, it may require the attention of an emergency care physician. If you’re ever unsure of whether a child or elderly individual should be seen at the ER for a skin rash , it’s generally best to err on the side of caution. The emergency care physicians at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are always available to provide prompt care. These are some of the situations in which you should seek emergency care:
The rash appears suddenly.
The sudden onset of a skin rash can be a cause for concern. A skin rash that starts abruptly and spreads rapidly may be triggered by an allergic reaction. An emergency care physician may need to look at it. If small, red, itchy hives develop and a person starts to have trouble breathing, it’s essential to call 911 right away.
The rash covers large areas of the body.
Another possible indicator of an allergic reaction is a skin rash that covers much of the body. Widespread rashes may also be caused by infections, such as measles and chickenpox. Physicians strongly recommend routine measles vaccines for children, but not all parents vaccinate their children. This practice has led to more common outbreaks of measles.
The rash is accompanied by a fever.
A rash accompanied by a fever can be a serious medical problem. An ER physician can evaluate you or your child for measles, shingles, scarlet fever, and severe allergic reactions.
The rash begins to blister or appears infected.
Even if a skin rash appears minor initially, it may later require emergency care. A trip to the ER is warranted if the rash blisters or turns into open sores, especially if the skin around the eyes, genitals, or in the mouth is affected. Skin rashes that itch intensely can be difficult to resist scratching, but this can contribute to infections of the sores. Emergency care is needed for signs of an infection, including swelling, crusting, unusual discharge, increasing pain, and a red streak that emanates from the sore.
For all of your medical emergencies in the Las Vegas area, the emergency care team at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is available 24/7. From stroke and heart attacks to skin rashes and infections, our emergency care department is fully equipped to handle every medical emergency. You can request a physician referral for non-emergent situations by calling (702) 233-5300.