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Melanoma

Westerville Dermatology is here for all your skin cancer needs, including board-certified melanoma diagnosis and treatment in Westerville, OH.

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Melanoma

Westerville Dermatology is here for all your skin cancer needs, including board-certified melanoma diagnosis and treatment in Westerville, OH.

Melanoma

What is Melanoma?

After squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, melanoma skin cancer is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed skin cancer in the United States. Currently, around 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US. 

While that may not seem like a lot, melanoma is significantly more dangerous than SCC or BCC, as it has a much higher chance of spreading into the surrounding tissue or to other parts of the body. This is why it’s important to understand what melanoma is, as well as its signs and symptoms, to reduce your risk and optimize the health of your skin. 

So what is melanoma skin cancer? This is a type of skin cancer that forms in the melanocytes, which are cells found in the upper layer of skin (otherwise known as the epidermis). Melanocytes are the cells that produce pigment, or melanin, which give the skin its color.

Macro image of a suspicious mole seen close up. The mole was later removed in surgery and found to be pre cancerous.
Questions

Melanoma FAQS

Want to learn more about melanoma? Read our answers to commonly asked questions regarding melanoma below, and make sure to contact us for your annual skin cancer screening to help reduce your skin cancer risk.

Melanoma occurs when cell DNA damage from burning or tanning due to UV radiation triggers mutations in the melanocytes, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth, which is what causes a skin cancer growth or tumor. This UV radiation can occur from unprotected and excessive exposure to sun rays or tanning beds. 

Since melanoma develops in the melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells, a common warning sign is a dark brown to black colored spot that may or may not have originally been an already-existing mole. However, melanoma can also occasionally appear as a tan, pink, or white spot. 

In many diagnosed cases of melanoma, it began as a new or existing mole that transitioned into melanoma skin cancer. This is why it’s important to follow the helpful ABCDE guide to determine if an atypical mole or suspicious spot needs a professional evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist.

  • A is for Asymmetry – Does the mole have matching halves?
  • B is for Border – Are the borders of the mole irregular, scalloped, or faded?
  • C is for Color – Is the mole a consistent color? Or does it present multiple shades of tan, brown, red, black, dark brown, or blue?
  • D is for Diameter – Is it larger than 6mm (size of a pencil eraser)?
  • E is for Evolving – Does the mole or skin growth look different from others nearby or has it evolved in appearance over time?

Additional warning signs and symptoms of melanoma include a sore that won’t heal, redness or swelling around a mole, changes in sensation in or around a mole (itching, tenderness, or pain), or changes to the surface of a mole or spot (scaliness, oozing, or bleeding).

Yes, melanoma has different stages. These stages include: 

  • Stage 0 “in situ” and Stage I – Confined to the upper layer of skin and no evidence of spreading.
  • Stage II – Risk of spreading to local lymph nodes is higher.
  • Stage III and Stage IIII – Advanced melanomas are those that have spread beyond the original tumor.

The stages are determined by several factors, including how much the cancer has grown, whether it has spread (metastasized) and the extent of metastasization, and other considerations 

Knowing the stages of melanoma is crucial, as this helps doctors decide how to best treat melanoma skin cancer and predict recovery rate.

Yes, there are four main types of melanoma. This includes:

  • Superficial Spreading Melanoma – The most common form of melanoma.
  • Lentigo Maligna – Most often develops in older people.
  • Acral Lentiginous Melanoma – Most common form of melanoma found in people of color, including individuals of African ancestry.
  • Nodular Melanoma – Accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all melanoma cases and is the most aggressive form of melanoma.

Interested in learning more about the different types of melanoma or want to schedule a skin cancer screening? Contact the experienced dermatologists at Westerville Dermatology today.

The melanoma survival rate depends on the thickness of the primary melanoma and whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. 

The 5-year survival rate for people with so-called “thin melanoma” that has not or metastasized is 99%. For those with “thicker melanoma,” the 5-year survival may be as low as 80%. If the melanoma has invaded nearby lymph nodes, the survival rate is around 66%. If melanoma has spread to other, more distant parts of the body, such as the lungs or liver, the survival rate is about 27%. 

However, survival varies depending on a number of factors, and survival rates for people with melanoma are an estimate. Fortunately, with advanced treatments, the survival rate for skin cancers, including melanoma, are continuously improving.

Yes, melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, as this type has a more increased risk of spreading (metastasizing) to surrounding tissue and other parts of the body. This is why it’s especially important to visit a board-certified dermatologist if you’re experiencing any of the warning signs and symptoms mentioned above. 

There are a few different melanoma treatment methods used today, including surgical excision, chemotherapy, and Mohs surgery. At Westerville Dermatology, we only treat stage 0 “in situ” and thin melanoma, and we typically use the treatment method of surgical excision. Contact us to learn more about how we treat melanoma in Westerville, OH.

PHOTOS

Melanoma Photos

Not sure what melanoma looks like or how it can show up on your skin? View the photos of suspicious moles and melanoma skin cancer below to get a better understanding of how this common skin cancer can appear. 

Contact

Melanoma Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Westerville, OH

If you’re looking for a board-certified dermatologist experienced in detecting, diagnosing, and treating melanoma skin cancer, Westerville Dermatology offers professional dermatology services at our comfortable and state-of-the-art clinics in Westerville, Ohio. Contact us today by calling (614) 895-0400 or request an appointment online.

Contact Us Today

Have questions or concerns? Please call us at 614-895-0400.

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