It’s not the most common form of skin cancer, but melanoma is the most serious type because of how quickly it can spread to other organs in the body, such as the lungs or brain. At HK Dermatology, in San Juan Capistrano, California, the experienced medical team specializes in identifying areas of concern on your skin that may become cancerous melanomas. If you spend a lot of time in the sun or have a personal or family history of melanoma, you could be at risk of developing this type of serious skin cancer. Call the HK Dermatology office or click online to book an appointment.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the melanocytes in your skin. Melanocytes are responsible for the melanin, or brown pigment, in your skin. Melanocytes give your skin its darker color when you have a tan, too.
Melanomas form when the cells in the melanocytes grow out of control and form a mass of cancerous cells. Medical researchers aren’t quite sure what damages these skin cells and causes them to multiply. But, they do believe that sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) radiation are the leading causes of this potentially deadly skin cancer.
Although melanomas can develop anywhere on your body, they’re most common in areas that receive the most sun exposure, such as your arms, legs, neck, and face. It’s possible to develop a melanoma on areas of your body that don’t get much sun exposure, too, like the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. Melanoma can be a new mole or develop in an existing mole.
You can sometimes identify the first signs of melanoma using the letters “ABCDE” to remind you to look for:
It may be hard to tell if you have these symptoms, as melanomas vary quite a bit in appearance and can even be “amelanotic” or without pigment. It is important to monitor your skin for new and changing moles. We often advise patients to have their spouse help monitor hard to see moles, such as moles on the back. Patients can also an app, such as miiskin which reminds patients to photograph moles and alerts the patient to any changes. Make appointment with one of the professional dermatologist at HK Dermatology at the first sign of changing moles for a head-to-toe evaluation for any signs of developing melanomas or other types of skin cancer.
If diagnosed and treated early, melanoma is almost always curable, especially if it’s still confined to the surface of your skin and hasn’t yet penetrated to the deeper layers. The highly skilled dermatologic surgeons at HK Dermatology remove the melanoma tumor from your skin during a very comfortable outpatient procedure using local anesthetic. Depending on the stage of your melanoma, your dermatologist customizes a comprehensive surgical plan to remove the cancerous cells.
If you suspect you have melanoma, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call HK Dermatology today to schedule an exam or book online.