Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, develops in the cells that produce melanin which gives skin its color. The exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds increases your risk of developing melanoma.
Signs and symptoms of melanoma:
- Brown or black but can appear pink, tan or even white
- Changes in an existing spot or mole
Signs of melanoma to follow ABCDE rules for early detection of melanoma
- A stands for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- B stands for Border: Borders of the mole are irregular, ragged, or blurred.
- C stands for Color: The color of the mole changes or varies throughout, with no uniform pigmentation.
- D stands for Diameter: Diameter is greater than 6 mm (could be smaller).
- E stands for Evolving: Changes in the mole over variable time weeks, months, or years.
Common types of melanoma skin cancer
- Superficial spreading melanoma
Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma skin cancer. It tends to grow outward (called radial growth) and spread across the surface of the skin. It varies in color and may have different shades of red, blue, brown, black, grey and white.
- Nodular melanoma
Nodular melanoma is the second most common type of melanoma skin cancer. The cancer grows down into the skin. It grows and spreads more quickly than other types of melanoma skin cancer
- Lentigo maligna melanoma
Lentigo maligna melanoma most often develops in older people usually appears as a large, flat tan or brown patch with an uneven border. Lentigo maligna melanoma usually develops on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to the sun without protection, such as the face, ears and arms.
- Acral lentiginous melanoma
Acral lentiginous melanoma is most common in people with dark skin, such as those from African, Asian and Hispanic ancestries. It is not related to being exposed to the sun.Acral lentiginous melanoma usually develops on the soles of the feet, on the palms of the hands or under the nails.
Risk factors of skin cancer
- Patients with a light skin tone
- Patients with skin that burns easily
- Patients with a family history of melanoma
- Patients with a large number of moles
- Patients who have a history of tanning bed use
- Patients who are frequently exposed to the sun through leisure or occupational activities
- Patients who are a recipient of an organ transplant
Skin cancer prevention
- Avoid peak sunlight during the day
- Avoid indoor tanning bed
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen
- Regular self skin monitoring and annually skin check by physician
Skin cancer treatment
Treatment for skin cancer depends on types and stages. The goal of treatment is to remove cancer completely. Most people with melanoma skin cancer have one or more of the following treatments:
- Biopsy could be performed in order to confirm the diagnosis before starting the treatments.
- Surgery – Melanoma is usually treated with surgery to remove cancer.
- Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the medicine that works with the body’s infection-fighting system to stop cancer growth.
- Targeted therapy – Targeted therapy is a group of medicines that work only on cancers with certain characteristics. These medicines usually work by blocking a specific protein or molecule.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the medicine that kills cancer cells or stops them from growing.
Get a Skin Cancer Screening at Katu Dermatology
Katu Dermatology offers comprehensive skin cancer examinations. Let our certified dermatologists examine your skin for any marks that have an unusual size, color, or texture. Book an appointment with us today.