Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and one of the deadliest cancers all around. Melanoma is mostly caused by ultraviolet exposure or it can develop from a mole. Those with more than 100 moles on their skin have an increased risk for melanoma. Often times, a melanoma will resemble a mole, which is one of the most compelling reasons to get your skin checked regularly for any irregular looking moles. An estimated 8,790 people in the United States die each year from melanoma.
Know the Warning Signs of Melanoma
While it’s imperative to visit the dermatologist for an annual skin check, it’s also important for you to remember the warning signs of melanoma. They are:
- A for Asymmetry: Keep an eye out for moles that have two halves that don’t match.
- B for Border: If the borders are uneven on a mole, it’s time to get it assessed.
- C for Color: If your mole contains variations in color, take this as a warning sign.
- D for Diameter: When the mole is larger than a ¼ inch (the size of a pencil eraser), get it checked.
- E for Evolving: If you detect a change in the color, shape, size or texture of the mole, see the dermatologist immediately.
As soon as a melanoma is detected, the first step is to remove it with dermatologic surgery (excision). One of our board-certified dermatologists will carefully remove the melanoma with surgical excision, using local anesthesia. We take great care to make sure there is the least amount of scarring as possible. We remove the margins around the melanoma to test them for remaining cancer cells.
One of the techniques we use at Schweiger Dermatology is Mohs Surgery, which is considered the most advanced and effective way to remove squamous and basal cell carcinomas. In Mohs, the surgeon removes one layer of thin tissue at a time and studies the margins for cancer cells. Once the margins are free of cancer, there is no longer any need for surgery. This technique not only allows for the dermatologic surgeon to pinpoint the exact location of the skin cancer, it also leaves as much normal tissue in tact as possible.