THE CORE

The mo­men­tum is shift­ing in the fight against skin can­cer

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - News -

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

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