The least common but most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma. This disease develops in the melanocytes, which are the primary cells found in the bottom layer of the epidermis and is responsible for producing melanin for skin pigmentation.
The signs of melanoma can appear anywhere on the body but they are common in areas that have been exposed to the sun. Some of the usual affected areas are the face, neck, legs, trunk, and arms.
In more advanced cases, melanoma can also be found in your internal organs and lymph system and cause metastatic liver cancer or pancreatic cancer.
Melanomas can be confused with a normal mole as they often present as dark brown or black spots on the skin. However, you should immediately consult with a dermatologist if you notice any irregularities in the skin, because melanomas can often change size and shape. Early detection of skin cancer is critical to prevent serious symptoms. (See Skin Check)
When the skin cells produce too many melanocytes, they can develop into malignant cancer cells and migrate to other parts and even internal organs in the body. Healthy skin cells grow and divide in a controlled way, but UV rays from the sunlight can alter the DNA in the melanocytes. This can cause the normal melanocytes to change and begin reproducing cancerous cells in the body. Some of the common causes of melanoma are:
If you have melanoma spots in other body areas that aren’t constantly exposed to the sun, this can mean that there are other factors behind having them. This can include:
At Dermatology & Skin Health, we offer world-class services done by award-winning doctors who have proven their knowledge and skills in this field. Start your journey towards achieving your best skin by contacting us today.
Just like any cancer type, the risk for melanoma increases with age. It’s been commonly diagnosed in older patients aged 55 to 74 but it can also affect younger adults who are 25 to 29 years old. Other factors that can contribute to your risk of being a melanoma patient are:
If you detect an unusual mole on your body, it’s important to monitor it for any changes in its size, shape, and color. You can visit our dermatologist for a skin cancer screening or you can follow the ABCDE checklist to inspect your existing mole:
A melanoma doctor can diagnose and categorize your melanoma in different stages:
|Stage 0||In this stage, the cancer cells are located only in the top layer of the skin.|
|Stage 1||Melanomas in this stage are still low risk and they have not yet spread to other parts of the body.|
|Stage 2||There are still no signs of cancer cells spreading to other areas, but this can already mean a high risk of recurrence.|
|Stage 3||Melanomas have already moved to the surrounding skin and nearby lymph nodes.|
|Stage 4||This stage is called metastatic melanoma where the cells have migrated to distant sites and internal organs.|
Not all the spots on the skin are malignant melanomas. In some cases, you may have a less aggressive form of skin cancer which is known as non-melanoma. Here’s the difference between the 2 skin conditions:
|Melanoma||Non Melanoma Skin Cancer|
|Begins in the skin’s melanocytes (also known as cutaneous oncology)||A type of skin cancer that starts in the basal cell, squamous cell, or Merkel cell|
|Can develop into advanced stages and migrate to other areas of the body||Has a low incidence that it will spread to other areas of the body|
|The spots appear black or dark brown on the skin||Usually looks small with a pinkish or white lump|
A simple skin biopsy is usually done to get an accurate diagnosis of the existing melanoma. Other medical tests such as a CT scan, MRI exam, and PET scan may be ordered to check if the cancer cells have reached other organs inside the body.
At Dermatology & Skin Health, our excellent dermatology services are guaranteed to be safe and effective, performed by the top doctors in their respective fields. Treat your skin problems by contacting us today.
Normally, cancer care requires working with a team of healthcare professionals who can help diagnose and recommend the best treatment plan for your melanoma. You may be required to see a dermatologist, surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist throughout the course of your treatment.
Early-stage melanomas will require general surgery to remove the cancerous tumors and the surrounding tissue to ensure that no cancer cells will be left behind. For advanced melanoma, the following skin cancer treatment options can be suggested:
You can keep your skin healthy and protect yourself against having melanoma by doing the following:
If you’re worried about the abnormal black spots on your skin, talk with our melanoma specialist at Dermatology and Skin Health today. Our team of dermatologists can help provide accurate diagnosis and recommend the best treatment to remove your melanoma. Contact us now and schedule a skin check with any of our professional doctors.
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