Total Dermatology
Melanoma2019-04-19T03:03:58-08:00

Melanoma

For medical office visits, we are a cash-only practice. Our initial medical office visit is $250 and follow-up medical appointments are $130. Please feel free to contact us at the number listed below if you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment.

Malignant skin cancer is a scary thought for anyone, as it is known to metastasize to other body organs. Detection of melanoma in early stages can be life-saving. Melanoma is most often detected when you notice a new mole, a present mole that enlarges or changes shape and color or bleeds.

ABCD is the code for suspicious moles

A – Asymmetry: the mole is different on one side
B – Borders are blotchy, uneven or blurred
C –  Uneven color with shades of brown, tan and black
D – Diameter is larger than 6 mm (pencil eraser size)

Other Warning Signs:

  • The appearance of a new bump or nodule
  • Color spreads into surrounding skin
  • redness or swelling beyond the mole
  • pain
  • tenderness
  • itching
  • bleeding
  • oozing
  • scaly appearance

How can I check to see if I have Melanoma?

Everyone should have yearly skin checks. Suspicious moles can be biopsied to determine if they contain cancer cells. If so, you will be referred to a specialist for complete treatment and the involvement of an oncologist if required.

Biopsies are simple. The mole is numbed and a portion is removed and sent to a laboratory for testing.  Many people put off having a mole checked because they fear a biopsy will hurt. A simple injection with a tiny needle will make the tissue removal painless.

Melanoma  is a malignant tumor of melanocytes which are found predominantly in skin but also in the bowel and the eye. It is one of the less common types of skin cancer but causes the majority (75%) of skin cancer related deaths. Melanocytes are normally present in skin, being responsible for the production of the dark pigment melanin. Despite many years of intensive laboratory and clinical research, the greatest chance of cure is in the early surgical resection of thin tumors.

Around 160,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year, more frequently in males and Caucasians. It is more common in Caucasian populations living in sunny climates than in other groups, or in those who use tanning salons. According to a WHO report about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year. The treatment includes surgical removal of the tumor, adjuvant treatment, chemo- and immunotherapy, or radiation therapy


Risk Factors

Family history and inherited genetic predisposition
Sun exposure habits

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) is one of the major contributors to the development of melanoma.  Why? UV radiation causes damage to the DNA of cells, creating mutations in the cell’s genes. When the cell divides, these mutations are propagated to new generations of cells and in certain instances this leads to the formation of a tumor.

Occasional extreme sun exposure (resulting in “sunburn”) is causally related to melanoma. Melanoma is most common on the back in men and on legs in women (areas of intermittent sun exposure). The risk appears to be strongly influenced by socioeconomic conditions rather than indoor versus outdoor occupations; it is more common in professional and administrative workers than unskilled workers.

Use of sun beds (with deeply penetrating UVA rays) has been linked to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.

Exposure during childhood is a more important risk factor than exposure in adulthood. Individuals with blistering or peeling sunburns (especially in the first twenty years of life) have a significantly greater risk for melanoma.

Fair and red-headed people, persons with multiple atypical nevi or dysplastic nevi and persons born with giant congenital melanocytic nevi are at increased risk.

A family history of melanoma greatly increases a person’s risk Patients with a history of one melanoma are at increased risk of developing a second primary tumor.

The incidence of melanoma has increased in the recent years, but it is not clear to what extent changes in behavior, in the environment, or in early detection are involved.

If you would like to learn more about Melanoma and the treatments options available, please call our office at 949-727-3800 today to schedule a consultation or fill out the form on this page and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you promptly.

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