Melanoma - Skin Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyer
LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
Thousands of Canadian citizens are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer every year. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment which is often delayed due to misdiagnosis or misinterpreted test results. Melanoma skin cancer misdiagnosis is extremely common and failure by a healthcare practitioner that amounts to negligence is a matter of medical malpractice and entitles the victim to claim financial recompense for pain and suffering or the loss of opportunity for a cure. Our specialist medical malpractice lawyers deal with melanoma skin cancer clinical negligence cases against doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare providers working in medical practices, clinics, hospitals and all other places where health care is dispensed. If you would like advice about melanoma skin cancer misdiagnosis just contact our offices and a specialist medical malpractice lawyer with call to discuss your potential compensation claim without charge and without further obligation. Our melanoma medical malpractice lawyers will give you their opinion on the liability of the negligent healthcare provider and will estimate the amount of the likely award of damages there and then.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It is considered the most deadly form of skin cancer, with metastases likely. Almost 100,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed per year in Canada but only a small fraction of these are melanoma. The incidence of melanoma has been increasing steadily over the past 30-40 years, especially since tanning has become more popular. The sun has also become effectively stronger and this influences the risk of melanoma. The rate has been increasing about 3 percent per year in Caucasians and even higher than that in Caucasian women. It is the most common form of cancer in those aged 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in teenagers.
The most common spot in the body for melanoma is the torso with 1 in 58 individuals becoming diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes. Melanoma is highly treatable with a survival rate in young people being greater than 90 percent after five years.
The incidence of melanoma is about 1,000 cases found per year in Canada. Of these about 1,00 will die of the disease. More than half of all cases will be found to be invasive and the rest are found to be in situ or localized. Worldwide, more than 65,000 individuals will die from exposure to too much sun, most of them dying of malignant melanoma. If the melanoma has not spread to lymph nodes, it is 99 percent treatable and curable. Distant metastases, on the other hand, have only a 15 percent five year survival rate.
Malignant melanoma is a cancer of the melanocytes of the skin. These are the cells than make the pigment of the skin. When the melanocytes become cancerous, they can change color and become red, yellow, black or even bluish. Some malignant melanoma cells create no pigment whatsoever.
There are four types of melanoma, including superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma, which usually occurs on the palms or the soles of the feet. It may start de novo from normal skin or can come out of a pre-existing mole or large freckle. Some can occur within moles that have existed since birth. In rare cases, melanoma can show up within the mouth, in the retina at the back of the orbit, or in the iris of the eye. Even more rare are malignant melanomas showing up in the anus, vagina, esophagus, small intestine or urinary tract.
Risk factors for getting malignant melanoma include living at high altitudes and in sunny climates, being exposed to the sun for a long time, having at least one blistering sunburn while in childhood, using tanning beds, having a family history of melanoma, having exposure to toxic chemicals, having multiple birthmarks and atypical dysplastic moles and having a weakened immune system.
The main symptoms of malignant melanoma include having an asymmetric mole, having a mole grow beyond its borders, having a change in color of a mole or having a mole that is greater than 6 mm in diameter.
Malignant melanoma is diagnosed by a thorough skin examination. If a mole or area of the skin is suspicious for malignant melanoma, it is biopsied. If the biopsy shows melanoma under the microscope the cancer is treated.
The mainstay of treatment for malignant melanoma is surgery. Surgery aims to remove every cell of malignant melanoma. Chemotherapy is used to treat metastatic disease and radiation can be used to eliminate cancer cells that have become left over by surgery or to treat pain or discomfort. Any lymph nodes involved with malignant melanoma are treated with surgery if at all possible.
LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here