OK – so I am new to all of this, but I have made it my job to find out what the terms mean – so that when I read my Pathology report or get given “science jargon” by a doctor or consultant without a proper full explanation, I understand what they are talking about.
I will keep adding to this list & by all means please let me know if I have any of these definitions wrong or need to add more to the list :
Melanoma : A form of skin-cancer that begins as a collection of pre-cancerous melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.
Amelanotic melanoma : is a type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make melanin. They can be pink,red,purple or of normal skin colour, hence difficult to recognise. It has an asymmetrical shape, and an irregular faintly pigmented border. Their atypical appearance leads to delay in diagnosis – the prognosis is poor and the rate of recurrence is high. (this was my Melanoma : a Nodular Amelanotic Melanoma)
Malignant Melanoma : A Melanoma (in my case a mole) where the benign pre-cancerous tissue becomes cancerous. A change in size, shape, or color of a mole can be an indicator. Melanoma can be cured if detected early, before spread (metastasis) to other areas of the body.
Metastasis : Spread of the cancer cells from one place to another around the body.
Ulceration : where the Melanoma on a mole breaks the dermis of the skin – the question “is there evidence of ulceration – yes or no” – in my case my Mole was Ulcerated.
Mitosis : also frequently known as Mitotic Rate – the rate at which cells divide/split & form new cells. This is divided into 3 categories : less than 1per sq/mm (low risk), 1-4per sq/mm (medium risk), greater than 4per sq/mm (high risk) – the greater the Mitotic rate the higher the risk & the more likely the melamona will have metastasized – spread. The Mitotic rate was 10/1sq mm – off the charts fast!
Breslow Depth : the depth of the tumour (melanoma) – again this is classified in stages, my Breslow depth was 4.7mm
WLE : Wide Local Excision – removal of additional surrounding tissue.
NED : No Evidence of Disease – I have seen this frequently on forums and other peoples websites where the refer to themselves as being NED for a certain amount of time – they longer the better!
SLNB : Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy – the examination of the lymph nodes found to be the first point of travel for the Melanoma cells. Found by injecting radiative dye to the Melanoma primary site.
Braf+ : Genetic mutation Braf+ affects 50% of Melanoma patients. It is the most common but because with this strain the Melanoma mutates more frequently it makes it harder to treat.
LDH (Lactate dyhydrogenase ) : An enzyme found in all of us. It is released into surrounding tissue as the tumour growth. Elevated or high LDH levels indicate severity of the tumour.