Skin cancer is known to be the 5th most common cancer within the UK. Each year, approximately 16,200 new cases are diagnosed. While the survival rate stands at around 87%, catching the cancer early is crucial.
As May marks Skin Cancer Awareness Month, now has never been a better time to be vigilant. Understanding the risk factors and symptoms is essential if you want to detect the cancer early.
A recent study has revealed a link between testosterone and melanoma. So, what do these new findings mean, and what exactly is melanoma?
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It develops as a melanocyte within the pigment-forming skin cells. However, a melanoma isn’t just skin cancer; it can also develop on the scalp, eyes, feet, nails, or anywhere else on the body. It occurs in 51% of males and 49% of females and it is typically caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Studies have shown that suffering with a bad sunburn as a child, doubles your chances of developing melanoma in adult life. There are a number of known risk factors, with the latest findings suggesting that testosterone plays a crucial role.
Understanding the link between testosterone and melanoma
A new study, founded by Cancer Research UK, looked at hormone levels within the blood. It discovered that 1 in 36 males, and 1 in 47 females, will develop Melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime.
Researchers from the Oxford University looked at blood sample data from 122,100 post-menopausal women, and 182,600 men. They were aged between 40 and 69 and were cancer free for at least a couple of years after the samples were taken.
After following the participants for seven years, 5,632 women and 9,519 men went on to develop skin cancer melanoma. Data showed that men who had a higher level of testosterone were at an increased risk of developing the cancer. Increased testosterone levels in post-menopausal women were also found to link to an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer.
While the reason why testosterone increases the risk of melanoma isn’t known, it does help to bring awareness of the risk.
How is melanoma treated?
Mr Myles Smith has extensive experience diagnosing and treating melanoma. During your consultation, he will examine the area and determine whether further assessment is needed. Melanoma is most commonly removed through surgery.
The type of surgical treatment you’ll need will depend upon the location and size of the melanoma. Just some of the surgical methods that can be used include wide local excisions, sentinel node biopsies and surgery for skin metastasis.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, undergoing the right type of surgery is crucial. The earlier you undergo treatment, the more successful it is likely to be.
For more advice, call us on 020 3770 5864 to arrange an appointment at the HCA Lister Hospital Clinics (Chelsea Outpatient Centre and Chiswick Medical Centre) or call 020 7808 2785 to book a consultation with Mr Myles Smith at the Royal Marsden Hospital.