Malignant melanoma Disease
Malignant melanoma, also known as black skin cancer, is the most vicious form of skin cancer. Basically, a distinction is made between different forms of skin cancer: The basal cell and the spiny cell cancer, which are also known as white skin cancer, are the most common forms. These skin tumors are less aggressive and generally treatable – especially if detected early. Malignant melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer 1 , but it is the skin tumor with the highest metastatic rate and responsible for more than 90 percent of all deaths from skin tumors.
White skin cancer develops in the keratinocytes (horn-forming cells) on the surface of the uppermost skin layer (epidermis). In contrast, malignant melanoma develops in the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the depths of the epidermis, from which benign lesions such as birthmarks or liver spots can develop. After the malignant change (“degeneration”) of the pigment-forming cells are no longer subject to the natural growth control, so they can then multiply almost uncontrollably. As a result, many of the individual cancer cells produce a coherent tumor.
Like other tumors, malignant melanoma (black skin cancer) develops gradually. It can arise on already existing Nävi (birthmarks) or completely inconspicuous, healthy skin. The cause of this malignant development is essentially damage to the genetic information ( DNA ) of the pigment-forming skin cells ( melanocytes ), in which above all UV radiation plays a major role.
As the disease progresses, these degenerate cells multiply and a tumor develops. This results in a localized (in situ) malignant melanoma in the uppermost skin layer, the epidermis . At this stage, the risk of metastasis , that is a spread of cancer in other parts of the body, still low – if the melanoma is detected and treated early. For in the first growth phase, the tumor initially grows horizontally, which means that it widens in width. The second phase of growth then takes place vertically – the cancer grows deep and also penetrates the second and third skin layers ( dermis and subcutis ). Here he can connect to blood andPreserved lymphatic vessels . Via these vessels, the malignantly altered cells of the melanoma can then be transported to the lymph nodes and other organs where they form metastases (secondary tumors).
An early diagnosis is crucial in malignant melanoma: if it is detected early, it can be cured in most cases. If the tumor has already formed secondary tumors, it is usually no longer completely curable. However, there are treatment options that can help slow and delay the progression of the disease.
If a malignant melanoma is not detected in time and removed, it can grow deeper into the skin and spread through the blood and lymph vessels in the body. The further spread of malignant melanoma in the body and the involvement of organs such as lymph nodes , lungs, brain or other body regions complicates the treatment of malignant melanoma