Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer. Typically appearing as an “ugly” mole, melanomas often have irregular borders, are more than six millimeters in diameter, and appear black, brown, tan, or in different colors. It is imperative that melanomas are diagnosed and treated as early as possible to avoid cancer spread.
Most melanomas are black or brown in color, but they can also appear red, pink, bluish, white, purple, and skin-colored. Genetics often play a major role in the development of melanomas, particularly for individuals with immediate family members who have had the condition. This type of skin cancer is also known to have increased risks of recurrence. One of the most important things you can do to avoid serious risks to your health from melanomas is to routinely check your skin for any irregularities, particularly for new mole-looking growths and for any changes in the appearance of existing moles. These symptoms should be evaluated immediately. It’s also important to have regular check-ups with a qualified dermatologist to make sure any problems are caught early.
Many skin cancer organizations recommend you watch for the ABCDE’s of melanoma, which are:
- A – Asymmetry
- B – Borders – edges exhibiting an uneven appearance
- C – Color – shades of brown, black, tan, purple, blue, white, red pink, or other colors
- D – Diameter – melanomas are usually larger than the size of a pencil eraser; however, they can be smaller
- E – Evolving – changes in elevation, size, color, shape, or other factors. You should also look for symptoms such as bleeding, crusting, or itching
Treatment Options for Melanoma
Melanoma can often be successfully treated if caught early. Treatment options include surgical excision of the melanoma, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, and other surgical and non-surgical techniques. The exact type of treatment will depend on the type and stage of the melanoma’s progression. Our dermatologists have a high level of experience with a variety of skin cancer treatment techniques, and can recommend the best option for your needs.
Contact the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center
If you have noticed an irregular growth on your skin or change in color or size of a mole, please contact the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center. Our experienced dermatologist can evaluate your skin and answer any questions you may have.