melanoma(redirected from amelanotic melanoma)
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Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas
Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of cancer. Both arise from epithelial tissue (see epithelium). They are rare in dark-skinned people; light-skinned, blue-eyed people who do not tan well but who have had significant exposure to the rays of the sun are at highest risk. Both types usually occur on the face or other exposed areas.
Basal cell carcinoma typically is seen as a raised, sometimes ulcerous nodule. The nodule may have a pearly appearance. It grows slowly and rarely metastasizes (spreads), but it can be locally destructive and disfiguring. Squamous cell carcinoma typically is seen as a painless lump that grows into a wartlike lesion, or it may arise in patches of red, scaly sun-damaged skin called actinic keratoses. It can metastasize and can lead to death.
Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are easily cured with appropriate treatment. The lesion is usually removed by scalpal excision, curettage, cryosurgery (freezing), or micrographic surgery in which successive thin slices are removed and examined for cancerous cells under a microscope until the samples are clear. If the cancer arises in an area where surgery would be difficult or disfiguring, radiation therapy may be employed. Genetic scientists have discovered a gene that, when mutated, causes basal cell carcinoma.
See publications of the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
melanoblastoma; a malignant tumor that consists of melanin-producing cells.
Factors conducive to the development of melanomas include injury and hormonal stimulation, especially during puberty. Melanomas generally occur on the skin; less often, they appear on the retina, pia mater, nasopharynx, larynx, esophagus, and mucosa of the intestine and other organs. Melanomas usually develop at the site of pigmented or depigmented birthmarks, but they may also appear elsewhere. The process starts with a barely perceptible, painless tumor on the skin, sometimes resembling a wart, which gradually becomes dark brown or black. Occasionally, it ulcerates and bleeds. In case of injury, the tumor may enlarge quickly and become tuberous, dense at the base, and stiffer. The regional lymph nodes enlarge. The initial signs that a melanoma is developing at the site of a birthmark are the birthmark’s enlargement, an intensification or reduction in its pigmentation, and the appearance of a red rim around it. Treatment involves prompt surgical intervention, based on early diagnosis, and the use of radiotherapy and drugs to retard the growth and reproduction of the cells.
I. IA. SHAKHTMEISTER