Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma_ImageMALIGNANT MELANOMA is the most serious form of skin cancer. The tumor originates in melanocytes, the cells which produce the pigment that colors our skin, hair, and eyes. The majority of Malignant Melanomas are black or brown with irregular borders that can become crusted and bleed. Malignant Melanoma may affect anyone at any age.

All individuals exposed to sunlight are at risk of developing Malignant Melanoma, yet fair-skinned people after years of sun exposure, individuals with a family history of Melanoma, and individuals who are immunosuppressed are at a higher risk.

If Malignant Melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100% curable. Untreated, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.

Treatment Options

Our dermatologists officially diagnose and treat Malignant Melanoma after assessing tissue from a skin biopsy. Treatment options depend on location and depth of the tumor as well as the patients general health. Treatment options offered include surgical excision, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and (if necessary) lymph nodes may be removed.

 

Statistics

  • Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
  • One person dies of Melanoma every hour in this country.
  • An estimated 123,590 new cases of Melanoma were diagnosed in the United States in 2011.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
  • Overall, 1 in 59 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.

ABCDEs of Melanoma

  • Asymmetry – The halves of the mole do not match.
  • Border – The edges of an early Melanoma tend to be uneven, notched or ragged.
  • Color – Varied shades of brown, black, and tan (possibly red, blue or another color).
  • Diameter – Larger than the size of a pencil eraser (6 millimeters), but may be smaller when first detected.
  • Evolving – Change in size, shape, or shade of color, bleeding, itching or crusting.