Cancer research in the UK shows that more people are surviving malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Their latest statistics show that more than 80% of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma will survive. Much better than the 50% survival rate 40 years ago.
This is believed to be accredited to better treatments and earlier diagnosis. But another big factor, they believe, is people are more aware of the symptoms.
This report shows that 80% of men and 90% of women live more than ten years after being diagnosed with malignant melanoma compared with only 38% of men and 58% of women in the early 70s.
Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Manchester, says that a big part of the giant progress in the fight against skin cancer is funding that helps increase understanding of the disease and find new ways to beat it. He says:
"More and more people are beating skin cancer but we can't stop there and we need to develop better treatments for the 2 out of 10 where things don't look so good."
There are, however, some new very effective drugs such as vemurafenib, which was developed with the help of research funded by the charity.
"Although these drugs do not cure skin cancers, they can give patients with advanced melanoma valuable extra months and show the progress we are making," Marais adds.
Skin cancer is one of the fastest rising cancers in the UK, which could be attributed to more people tanning and sunbathing than before. Like most cancers treatment for skin cancer is more likely to succeed the earlier it’s detected.
According to Dr. Harpal Kumar, one key to the earl diagnosis is getting to know your skin, to notice anything unusual or different and to see a doctor.
One area that has seen enormous progress in research on melanoma is genetics. Melanoma is a highly complex disease as far as genetics are concerned. The tumors have the most mutations per cell than any other type of cancer.
Scientists can actually use information gained from studying how UV lights damage DNA to come up with new treatments to fix the patient.
A cancer researcher collected samples of tissue from people diagnosed with melanoma and non-melanoma on the head and neck. The researchers now are examining the samples, looking for genetic changes that could possibly be the cause of the skin cancer to eventually discover how the immune system reacts to the skin cancer. In other research, scientists have discovered that people who have inherited a…