What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that starts with melanocytes, the cells that give your skin color. Melanoma is the most serious form of all skin cancers and it most commonly forms on your skin, but it can also form in other areas like your eyes or mouth.
Melanoma is typically found in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, like your face, arms, back and legs. Melanoma can arise as Melanoma or in pre-existing moles that change shape, size, or color. You should watch out for existing moles that have changed shape or color recently and new moles that have an unusual shape or color. The National Cancer Institute suggests following the “ABCDE” rule when looking for signs of melanoma.
The “ABCDE” rule describes the features of melanoma:
- Asymmetry. The shape of one half does not match the other half.
- Border that is irregular. The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
- Color that is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
- Diameter. There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than 6 millimeters wide (about 1/4 inch wide).
- Evolving. The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.
If you find a suspicious spot on your skin, the only way to diagnose if it is melanoma is by visiting your dermatologist to have the tissue removed and tested for cancer cells.
Melanoma Treatment Options
The Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center offers melanoma treatment by surgical excision. Surgical excision is an invasive procedure that will remove the biopsy proven skin cancer, or cancerous growth, along with the bordering tissue, which may appear to be normal.
Other Skin Cancers
In addition to melanoma treatment options, our providers also treat other skin cancers such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. We offer superficial radiation therapy, Mohs micrographic surgery, topical chemotherapy, cyrosurgery, and electrodesiccation.
If you would like a provider to take a look at any concerning spots, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers!