Melanoma is by far the most serious and virulent form of common skin cancer that develops in the melanocyte cells that produce melanin (pigmentation) in the skin. If the melanoma is invasive and has spread to blood vessels beneath the epidermis, it can spread rapidly to internal organs and the lymphatic system, making early detection critical for successful treatment.
Screening For Melanoma
- Melanoma often looks like a mole or develops from an existing mole on the skin that can appear anywhere on the body.
- Regular self-examination is essential, with particular attention to slight changes in the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the ABCDE guide for assessment, which can be found here.
- It is important to look out for large brown spots of dark lesions that change, grow darker, grow in size, appear to be asymmetrical, itch, bleed, heal and re-open.
- Melanoma must be diagnosed by a dermatologist with a biopsy.
How To Detect Melanoma In Its Early Stages
If detected early, thinner melanoma cancers can have survival rates in the 90-100-percentile range due to a lower rate of metastasis. The importance of thorough skin screening and monitoring slight lesion changes cannot be overstated. While personal awareness and skin self-examination is an important first line of defense, a total body exam by an accredited dermatologist is critical.
Learn more about the latest technology in total body digital imaging here.
How To Prevent Melanoma
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours (10am to 4pm), cover the body with protective clothing, especially the arms and the legs, and wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Wear sunscreen year round with a high SPF. Look for products that use the term “broad spectrum” that work against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Self-check skin monthly and contact your dermatologist if there are any changes.
- Schedule regular skin examinations. Anyone with a family history of skin cancer, a history of blistering sunburns, an incidence of 25 moles or more on the body or who are on medications that can compromise the immune system, should have an annual eye exam and appointment with a dermatologist.
- Maintain a regular antioxidant treatment such as serums, creams and pills that work to combat free radical damage in skin.
Common Treatments for Melanoma
At Kline Dermatology, we offer treatments to cure the melanoma cancer. Following are some of the treatments available:
- Surgical removal
- Targeted molecular therapies