What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a medical term given to a malignant disease that affects the pigment-producing cells of the skin called Melanocytes. It can affect any age group, but middle-aged persons seem to be mostly diagnosed with this type of cancer. It is related to a long exposure to the sun and ultraviolet radiations that leave the melanocytes in an unstable state with a high potential to turn into malignant cells.
What is the situation in Canada?
According to the 2017 Canadian Cancer Society report, http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/statistics/?region=on 7200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma, and 1250 Canadians will die from Melanoma
Medical Oncology treatments for Melanoma
According to the 2018 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) https://www.nccn.org/ which is a professional North American panel of oncologists, the main oncology interventions in melanoma are
1- Surgery is the primary modality with a special surgical technique taking into consideration achieving a clear surgical margin. Doing a lymph node dissection comes after in certain cases of melanoma.
2- Adjuvant biologic treatment such as Nivolumab, Dabrafenib, ipilimumab or interferon alpha. They are effective therapies against melanoma cell lines, however, they have many side effects such as the development of flu-like symptoms, fever, fatigue and weakness.
3- Radiation therapy: for metastatic disease such as cranial irradiation in case of brain metastases.
Role of Naturopathic medicine
Naturopathic interventions are very important in melanoma care. They are based mainly on strengthening the immune system, empowering the defence cells of the body to fight against melanoma cell lines, enhancing the melanoma cell killing processes, and reducing the side effects of systemic therapies. One of the most effective natural products that help melanoma care is the Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (or Avemar) which showed a survival advantage over the use of chemotherapy alone in malignant melanoma in a prospective double-blinded randomized clinical trial https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cbr.2008.0486
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