Melanoma is a cause near and dear to our hearts over here at Allegory. Often undetected until it’s too late, the rates of melanoma diagnosis are rising quickly. Too quickly. There are over 232,000 new cases of melanoma recorded every year and nearly 55,000 reported deaths every year worldwide, making it, undoubtedly, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Enter 2017, the year scientists have begun to crack the melanoma code. The science is a little….well, science-y, so we’ll break it down for you. Breakthroughs have been made in both the detection of melanoma and the treatment.
Changes in the skin’s melanin (the stuff that gives your skin color) are often the first signs of melanoma. The issue here is that while one kind of melanin is distinctly colored and can offer up first signs of the deadly cancer, the other melanin is not visible, it is clear and is not detectable using the current technology. Two researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital's Wellman Center for Photomedicine have discovered a way to detect this second, more defining, melanin change by using the distinct vibrations of its molecular structure. Basically, they’ve discovered a way to detect cancer with a tuning fork.
The other amazing breakthrough that has happened is in the realm of treatment. Scientists have discovered the mechanism within melanoma (as well as lung cancer) that switches the cancer cell from “infect here, tumor building mode” to “migrate” mode. This discovery has lead to a new medication that, while it won’t cure cancer, will stop it from migrating (technically called metastasizing), therefore making it easier to contain, remove and cure. Clinical Studies are starting now.
This is fantastic news for all of us fair-skinned and redheaded folks, as we are the ones most prone to melanoma.
Read more from Science Daily here.