Overview

Melanoma is the rarest and most dangerous type of skin cancer, and it tends to spread rapidly. However, if found early, melanoma is highly treatable. The only way to diagnose any type of skin cancer is with a biopsy, during which part of the growth or the entire growth, is examined.

Causes

Frequent or intense exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds causes most melanomas to grow on normal skin and increases the risk of moles turning into melanomas.

Other Risk Factors

  • Age 40 or older.
  • History of blistering sunburns.
  • Family history of melanoma.
  • History of melanoma or non-melanoma cancer.
  • Fair complexion.
  • Presence of large moles, atypical moles, or 50 or more moles.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • History of blistering sunburns.

Note: Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will get a melanoma, and many people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors.

Symptoms

  • Change in size or appearance of an existing mole, freckle or age spot.
  • Formation of a new patch or spot.
  • Existence of an irregular border on a mole.

When examining your skin, remember the A, B, C, D and E’s of melanoma:

Asymmetry – The shape of the mole or growth is not symmetrical.

Border – The growth has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

Color – The color of a growth varies from one area to another.

Diameter – Melanomas are usually greater than ¼ inch when diagnosed.

Evolving – The mole or growth looks different from others or changes in size, shape or color.

Treatment

Early detection is especially important for melanomas since this type of cancer is potentially dangerous and can spread rapidly. If you are diagnosed with a melanoma, Pensacola Dermatology will develop a treatment plan based on the depth of the melanoma, whether or not it has spread, and your overall health.

Monthly skin-cancer self-examinations are important precautionary measures, but nothing can replace a complete skin exam by your doctor. The medical professionals at Pensacola Dermatology can diagnose any skin-related issues, including melanoma. Schedule an appointment with Pensacola Dermatology so we can address your individual needs.

 

Melanoma | American Academy of Dermatology. (2018). Aad.org. Retrieved 21 December 2018, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/melanoma

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