Learn about Skin Cancer Video

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer but when treated early, it has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers. Recognizing the symptoms and regular check-ups are the best ways to detect melanoma early.
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Sherry Damatarca: This year an estimated 4600 new patients will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Recognizing symptoms and getting regular check ups are the best ways to detect melanoma early. Doctor Joel Claveau is a dermatologist specializing in the management of melanoma. Joel Claveau: Melanoma is increasing real rapidly. We see more than 4500 cases in Canada every year. The early signs of melanoma are described by ABCDE. A stands for asymmetry of the pigment or lesion. B for irregular borders, C for colors, black or changing. D for diameters more than 6 millimeter and E for evolution. So for every changing mole or skin lesion can be a sign of early melanoma. When somebody suspects melanoma, he should see the family doctors or dermatologist. Sherry Damatarca: When found early, melanoma has one of the highest cure rates of all the cancers. Joel Claveau: If melanoma is diagnosed late, the prognosis is not as good. It can spread to your lymph nodes or inside your body. The only adjuvant treatment accepted for melanoma is interferon or Intron A. Interferon works by stimulating your immune system. It helps to destroy tumor cells and decrease the risk of recurrences. Interferon has been demonstrated to decrease the risk of recurrence of the melanoma and increase survival by 10% or 15%. Sherry Damatarca: One year of Intron A treatment, following and surgery is only regimen today that has resulted in significant relapse-free and overall survival improvement. Patients with ulcerated tumors particularly benefit from this treatment. As with all the cancer treatments, having a strong support team in place plays a vital part in a patient's success. That said, if you were someone you know has been diagnosed with melanoma, it's important that you speak with a member of your health care team to ensure treatment provides optimal results. Joel Claveau: During your treatment with Interferon you need some support from your family, your medical staff and your pharmacist. Sherry Damatarca: Interferon therapy, like anything worth doing requires a serious commitment. To benefit from this medication, you need to follow your doctor's prescribed regimen without fail. After treatment, careful monitoring and follow up is essential in tracking progress and recovery. If you had melanoma before you are at increased risk for new melanoma. If there are any signs of recurrence, tell your doctor immediately. Patient should also consider joining a support group, such as the Canadian Save Your Skin Foundation located at saveyourskin.ca. There patients can find a safe place to share their experiences with other patients and former Interferon patients. Sherry Damatarca reporting.

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