Advanced melanoma treatment at The Skin Surgery Center.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce the melanin for your skin pigmentation. The exact cause is currently unknown, but there is strong evidence that exposure to radiation from U/V lights (such as those found in sunlight and tanning beds) is a top contributing factor.
While melanoma typically occurs in older individuals, cases have been quickly rising among patients under 40 in recent years. It’s often most easily identifiable as a mole, but can take other forms as well.
Melanoma is usually easy to treat in its early stages with Mohs Surgery. However, it becomes more dangerous and less treatable if it’s allowed to spread.
Our patients have a lot of questions when they’ve been diagnosed with melanoma (or suspect they may have it). We’ve answered a few of the most common questions below. For more specific answers, please contact our dermatology office in Winston-Salem.
It usually appears as a thick or thin mole with irregular, jagged edges. It may also present as uneven skin coloring, especially shades of brown, black, or gray. However, it can also lead to areas that appear pink, blue, or red.
Melanoma can be cured, especially if it’s detected in the early stages. Mohs Surgery is the most effective treatment, but it may not fit every case. Advanced forms of melanoma can sometimes be cured, but it typically involves a more invasive procedure since it will likely impact other areas of the body. Depending on that impact, it may not be curable.
Yes, melanoma can become deadly if it’s not treated early enough. It has the highest mortality rate of any skin cancer because it can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, causing other tumors to grow.
Melanoma is visible during its early stages, but some patients may not recognize it or believe it to be another skin condition. Unfortunately, some patients have ignored the growing size of the moles and skin marks caused by melanoma. At that point, they may not realize (or refuse to believe that) they have a significant health condition until it spreads and has a devastating impact on other parts of the body.
Typically, if you have a mole or blemish that appears irregular or (especially) grows over time, it’s extremely important to get a skin cancer screening immediately.
Melanoma can cause some discomfort, but it often can’t be felt at all in its early stages.
This varies by patient, but it typically spreads very fast. In fact, it can become deadly in just six weeks for some patients if left untreated. However, other patients have lived with it much longer than this.
A family history of melanoma typically indicates an increased risk, but this is not the only factor that leads to the disease. It’s possible that someone with no family history can still get it, while someone whose family hasn’t had melanoma can still develop the condition.
Melanoma typically presents as a mole, but it can take other forms as well. We’ve included a few photos of its most common appearances below.
Schedule Your Melanoma Treatment in Winston-Salem, NC
If you believe you may have melanoma or have already been diagnosed, early treatment is vital. The longer you wait, the more time melanoma has to spread and infect other parts of the body. Fortunately, early treatment is quick and easy.
To schedule your melanoma treatment, please contact our Winston-Salem dermatology clinic online or by calling us at (336) 724-2434.