More information about Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and the most likely to become untreatable. Melanoma is made up of malignant tissue that causes cancer and can lead to severe conditions if left untreated. Melanoma forms most commonly in the skin cells but can also be present in the eyes and (less commonly) inside the body. 

Melanoma can develop in many different areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, including the back, legs, arms, and face. It can also develop in areas that are not exposed to the sun as much, such as the bottoms of feet, buttocks, palms, and fingers (nail beds). 

When detected and diagnosed early, melanoma can be effectively treated by removing the malignant skin cells. The importance of early detection is why we encourage patients to speak to a dermatologist at the first sign of abnormal skin, changes to moles, new moles, or lesions on the skin. 

The likelihood of developing melanoma is linked to a combination of factors, including genetics, environmental, and exposure to UV radiation. Although we don’t know the precise cause of melanoma, it’s accepted that extended exposure to UV light such as the sun and in tanning beds can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma. People with fair skin, a family history of melanoma, or a history of sunburn are more likely to develop melanoma.

Symptoms of Melanoma

  • Early signs of changes in an existing mole
  • Development of new, irregular pigmented skin or unexplained new growth
  • Asymmetry of the mole
  • Having more than 50 moles on the body
  • Irregular or poorly defined border of the mole
  • Changes to color or different color
  • More than 6mm large in diameter

Preventing Melanoma

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing
  • Avoid the sun during peak UV periods of the day (between 10 am and 4 pm)
  • Wear strong sunscreen (SPF30+) year-round
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Perform regular self-exams to note any changes to existing moles or new growths 

At Skincredible Dermatology, we recommend an annual visit and examination as a preventative measure against the development of melanoma and other malignant conditions. 

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