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 What Is Malignant Melanoma?

Over Dr. V’s 40+ year career, he has developed an advanced and innovative algorithm (ABCDEFGHI) for diagnosing Melanoma, going far beyond standard guidelines. So, what is Malignant Melanoma? It 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.

Dr. V’s Algorithm + Melanoma FAQs

+ Dr. V's Melanoma Algorithm (ABCDEFGHI)

A is for ANALYSIS: At AAD we analyze the whole patient based on history and detailed family traits. Ideally we do a 4 generation tall family tree focusing on all potential cancers; not just melanoma.
B is for BLADE BIOPSY: We sample suspicious moles for different reasons: establish the degree of atypia, risk profile, explore phenotypes and sometimes we biopsy parents instead of their kids (Biopsy by Proxy).
C is for COLOR: Is not just the black but the red, ash grey, white, skin color regressed and slate bluish, shiny pearly pink, we study the rainbow for colors that do not fit or match. Sometimes is a red herring, the blue moon or the black ship.
D is for DERMOSCOPY and DISTRIBUTION not just Diameter: Skin has invisible zebra stripes; that is why you get shingles. At AAD we have established that certain body stripes, called dermatomes (skin segments) are more prone to develop melanomas. This work by AAD is pioneering and cutting edge and will be presented at the World Congress Of Dermatology in Milano, Italy June 2019.
E is for EVOLUTION and EMBRYOLOGY not just Elevation: The breakthrough observations by the AAD TEAM established the obvious. The left side of the body is the sinister due to embryology not the sun.
F is for FUNNY looking moles and FAMILY: AAD is one of the few organizations globally whose physicians are able to study up to four generations of a patient’s family members due to their specialized knowledge of genetics, embryology, neonatology, pediatrics and dermatology.
G is for GENERATIONS and GENETICS: Recognizing that certain GENES are responsible for several cancers in different organs, we study information about the genetics of the family across multiple generations and organs.
H is for HISTORY: History includes personal, family, professional/occupational, surgical, environmental History and social History. Every facet of your past will be evaluated and analyzed.
I is for INSTINCT: Patients Instinct, Doctors Instinct, Nurses and Receptionists Instinct. Decades of practical experience and training have honed our ability to look past the alphabet of symptoms and shapes, to trust our instinct when something feels “off”; to LISTEN to OUR PATIENTS.

+ Is Malignant Melanoma curable?

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.

+ Who is at risk of Melanoma?

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.

+ What are the 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.

+ What are common Melanoma statistics?

• Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
• More than 7,000 Americans will die from Melanoma in 2019.
• In 2019, over 192,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with Melanoma.
• Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-30 years old and the second leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30-35.
• Nearly 90% of Melanoma are thought to be caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight.
• Today, there are nearly 1 million people living with Melanoma.

+ How can I reduce my risk of Melanoma?

• Seek shade when possible
• Cover up with clothing, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
• Try to avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours
• Avoid tanning beds

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Book Skin Cancer Screening 

Annual skin screenings are the key to maintaining your health. Choose Academic Alliance In Dermatology to book your annual skin screening and receive an unparalleled approach to Melanoma diagnosis and overall skin health. Find one of our 18 locations near you and call the office directly.