The momentum is shifting in the fight against skin cancer
Ways to avoid skin cancer.
Every year thousands of cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in South Africa, and many people will die from the disease.As alarming as those statistics sound – especially to a sun-drenched golfer – there is good news in the fight against melanoma.
If detected early – before cancerous cells infiltrate the body’s lymph nodes – the survival rate is now 98 percent.And for those with advanced stages of the disease, the odds of survival are on the rise, too, thanks to an innovative treatment being used at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston.
Checkpoint-inhibitors immunotherapy, which involves administering a cancer-fighting drug to patients intravenously, has roughly doubled the long-term survival rate of people who have late-stage melanoma.
One of the mysteries of cancer is that its cells largely go undetected by the body’s natural immune system. But the new drugs have proved effective in getting the immune system to recognise the mutated cells and destroy them.
To help prevent and beat the disease, have your skin checked annually. If you have more than 100 moles on your body, you’re at greater risk. Black and brown moles that are scaly, large or asymmetrical in shape, could be melanoma. – Ron Kaspriske