Melanoma Medical Negligence Solicitors - UK Cancer Compensation Claims


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The main cause of death related to a skin disease is from melanoma. Late diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of melanoma may be due to medical negligence and give rise to a personal injury compensation claim for damage and loss. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which is extremely dangerous and needs to be addressed promptly. Melanoma affects the melanocytes, which are cells that are responsible for producing skin pigmentation known as melanin. Melanin is the material that gives coloration to hair and skin.

Melanoma not only affects areas of the skin, it can also impact the iris, or the colored part of the eye. Most commonly, melanoma develops on skin that is otherwise normal in appearance; however it can also begin as a mole or other type of abnormal area that change over time. Even moles that are present at the time of birth can change into a melanoma.

4 Types

There are four distinct forms of melanoma. The most common form of the disease is known as superficial spreading melanoma. This type is typically flat and irregularly shaped with varying shades of brown and black. Superficial spreading melanoma can develop at any age, and can be found anywhere on the body, and is common in fair skinned people. Nodular melanoma begins as a raised area that is typically bluish-red, or dark blackish-blue, but some are colorless. Lentigo maligna melanoma is common in elderly people. These can be found on skin of the face, arms, and neck that has been sun damaged. The areas are usually flat, larger in size, and light brown with darker areas. Finally, acral lentiginous melanoma is rarer. This type of the disease develops on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, or under the nails, and is more common in African Americans.

There are also rare cases when melanomas develop in the back of the eye in the retina, the iris, and sometimes the mouth. In these cases, the growths are often discovered during routine eye exams or dental cleanings. In even more rare cases, melanoma can form in the esophagus, vagina, anus, the small intestine, and urinary tract.

Melanoma is very serious because they can spread quickly. Even though melanoma are less common than other forms of skin cancer, cases of the disease are on the rise, making it a leading cause of death from skin conditions. As people age, the risk of developing the disease also increases, however young people are also affected. Late diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of melanoma may be due to medical negligence and give rise to a personal injury compensation claim for damage and loss.

Personal Analysis

Melanoma can be aggressive, and can develop at nearly any time. Since it can be somewhat difficult to distinguish the disease from a harmless mole, the ABCDE method has been implemented to assist people in personal analyses. A stands for Asymmetry because melanomas are often quite irregular in shape. B stands for border because melanomas have borders that are also irregular. C stands for Color because melanomas have more than just one color. D stands for Diameter because melanomas are typically larger than seven millimeters in diameter. E stands for Evolving since melanoma change with time. Late diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of melanoma may be due to medical negligence and give rise to a personal injury compensation claim for damage and loss.

Diagnosis

In order to gain a proper diagnosis of melanoma, a dermatologist or other skin cancer specialist needs to examine the area. In the event that your doctor does not recommend an evaluation by a specialist, medical negligence may have occurred. A specialist is quite skilled at providing a proper diagnosis, and assigning the right treatment. These professionals will complete a visual inspection, and make utilise a dermatoscope before deciding to remove the area of discoloration to be biopsied. Melanoma should be further confirmed by follow up tests and examinations. Late diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of melanoma may be due to medical negligence and give rise to a personal injury compensation claim for damage and loss.

Melanoma Medical Negligence Solicitors

If you would like a specialist solicitor to give you a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case of a misdiagnosis of melanoma, please contact by phone, email, or the form on this website for more information. Late diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of melanoma may be due to medical negligence and give rise to a personal injury compensation claim for damage and loss.


Malignant Melanoma Overview


Malignant melanoma is a cancer of the melanocytes in the skin. It was once considered rare but its incidence is increasing dramatically. It is generally treated with surgery to remove the malignant melanoma.

The history that should be asked include the family history of skin cancer or melanoma, a family history of prominent moles that are irregular or a family history of astrocytoma or pancreatic cancer. The doctor should ask about previous melanomas, sun exposure in the past or changes found in moles. The doctor should finally ask about a personal or family history of multiple nevi syndrome.

The physical exam should include a total body evaluation of the skin with serial photography of all suspicious lesions. All nevi should be evaluated according to the ABCDs, which means A for Asymmetry, B stands for border irregularity, C stands for Color, which can be dark black or blue or variable in color, and D for diameter greater than 6 mm. If melanoma is suspected or known, all lymph nodes should be examined.

In diagnosing melanoma, blood should be taken for lactic dehydrogenase, CBC and a complete chemistry panel. A CXR should be taken along with an MRI of the brain, ultrasound of lymph nodes, CT of the chest, pelvis and abdomen, and a PET scan to look for metastases. The procedures done when someone has a known melanoma include a complete excisional biopsy of the lesion. Surgical excision is done once the biopsy is obtained along with lymph node dissection if lymph nodes are enlarged. A sentinel node biopsy can also be done.

Surgery with a wide excision is the definitive treatment for early melanoma. Those with advanced melanoma require adjuvant therapy including interferon alpha, granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor, and BRAF Inhibitors. There are numerous chemotherapeutic agents to try and treat melanoma with chemotherapy. Brain metastases can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery or external beam radiation.

There are five different types of melanoma:

  • Superficial spreading melanomas—this is 70 percent of cutaneous malignant melanomas
  • Nodular melanomas—this is about 10-15 percent of melanomas and they are found on all body surface areas.
  • Lentigo maligna melanomas—this accounts for 10-15 percent of melanomas.
  • Acral lentiginous melanomas—occur on the palms, soles, and subungual areas.
  • Mucosal lentiginous melanomas—accounts for 3 percent of all melanomas.

Most melanomas occur in the skin but occur in other sites such as the eyes, mucosa, GI tract and genitourinary tract. It’s possible to have a metastatic melanoma that has an unknown primary site and is found in the lymph nodes only.

One can stage melanoma using the Breslow classification: This is as follows:

  • Less than or equal to 0.75 mm
  • 0.76-1.5 mm
  • 1.51-4 mm
  • Greater than 4 mm

There is a staging system that relies on the TNM system or tumour, nodes, and metastases. The size of the tumour is important along with the number of lymph nodes affected and the absence or presence of metastases.

The causes of melanoma include genetics. There are a number of heritable genes that are associated with getting melanoma. Exposure to UV radiation is critical in getting most melanomas. Getting sunburn on a regular basis seems to be a factor in getting malignant melanoma. It has to be an acute, intense and intermittent blistering type of sunburn to maximize the risk for malignant melanoma. Other risk factors in getting malignant melanoma are certain chemicals and viral exposures, having a changing mole, having dysplastic nevi in familial melanoma and having more than fifty nevi on your body. Moderate risk factors include having a family member with a melanoma, having melanoma in the past, having dysplastic nevi or having congenital nevi. Slightly elevated risk factors for melanoma include being immunosuppressed, having sun sensitivity, having freckles and having a history of blistering sunburns.


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