Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanomas often resemble moles and some even develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. It is important to remember that Melanoma can affect all skin types and to have full body screenings yearly. Anyone, regardless of skin type or sun exposure history, can get Melanoma.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year.
ABCDEs of Melanoma Skin Cancer
- Asymmetry. One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half.
- Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color. The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance.
- Diameter. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
- Evolution. There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or color of a mole.
For more information on Skin Cancer Treatment in the greater Lansing and Mid-Michigan area, call Doctor’s Approach at (517) 993-5900.