Melanoma month: A call to check your skin

March is melanoma month and the Melanoma March National Appeal is launching with 'A call to check your skin'.
If diagnosed in its early stage Melanoma can be successfully treated by surgery. If a melanoma is discovered when still less than 1mm thick, the prognosis is excellent.
The goal for Melanoma New Zealand is to get Kiwis, who have the highest melanoma rates in the world, to proactively look out for the early signs of this deadly skin cancer. Over 4000 New Zealanders are diagnosed each year with melanoma. Around 300 New Zealanders die of melanoma every year.
Although the majority of melanomas occur in people over 50 years of age, it can occur at any age and even young children have been diagnosed.
The treatments currently used for the management of melanoma include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. These therapies may be used alone or in combination, depending on the stage of the disease.
The Radiotherapy treatment option is generally used when the melanoma has spread to other parts of the body. The radiation can be precisely targeted at just the area of concern, so it does very little damage to normal tissue. Radiation therapy is usually given over several days.
“There have been many advances using radiation to effectively treat skin cancer. In particular the technology today means the radiation is highly targeted typically reducing the likelihood and severity of side effects”, says Dr Ramesh  Arunachalam, ARO Radiation Oncologist.
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