Though not as common as other types of skin cancer, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and kills as many as 8,000 Americans every year, but early diagnosis and treatments improve your chances of a full recovery. At Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery in Chula Vista, California, board-certified dermatologist Alexander Stein MD, FAAD, FASDS, and the team specialize in diagnosing and treating melanoma. To schedule a consultation, call the office, or book an appointment online today.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the melanocytes, which are skin cells that produce the pigment melanin. It occurs due to changes in your melanocytes’ DNA structure, causing an overproduction of the pigmented cells.
Though researchers are still investigating what causes the change in DNA, they theorize that it may develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning bed may also trigger the change.
Melanoma most often develops on the areas of the skin that get the most sun exposure — face, back, arms, and legs. However, this deadly skin cancer may also appear on areas of the body that rarely see the sun, such as the soles of your feet, the palm of your hands, under your fingernails, in your mouth, or on your genitals.
The team at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery recommends using the ABCDE mnemonic to look for signs and symptoms of melanoma. A mole or skin growth with one or more of the following characteristics may indicate melanoma:
If you have concerns about your moles, the team at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery can help.
When you visit Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery with concerns about melanoma, the team conducts an in-depth evaluation to ensure you get the right diagnosis. During your exam, your skin care expert reviews your medical and family history and examines your skin.
To diagnose melanoma, your provider takes a biopsy of any suspicious-looking moles or growths.
Treatment for your melanoma may depend on the depth of your cancerous lesion and whether your cancer spread to other areas of your body.
Surgical removal of the lesion is the primary treatment for melanoma. The team at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery performs Mohs surgery to remove most cancerous lesions. During Mohs surgery, your dermatologist removes your cancerous lesion one layer at a time until they reach healthy tissue.
If your melanoma has spread beyond your skin, you may need surgery to remove affected lymph nodes, as well as immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
To schedule your skin exam with the skin cancer experts at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery, call the office or book an appointment online today.