Melanoma is a type of skin cancer caused by the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes. These are the cells that are responsible for giving the skin a tanned color when exposed to the sun. Once they start to grow out of control, melanocytes become melanoma, which can then spread. Treatments for melanoma in Philadelphia are available at Keystone Dermatology Partners.
Melanoma Signs and Symptoms
Melanoma is often considered to be the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It can develop on any part of the body but is more prevalent on exposed parts like the arms and face. There are some signs that are more obvious than others, and checking for these signs first is advised.
These symptoms can be detected using the ABCDEs of Melanoma:
- Asymmetrical spots
- Borders that are uneven
- Color changes
- Diameter increases
- Evolving in size, shape, or color
It’s important to note that sometimes, a mole is just a mole. But if a mole that was the size of a pinhead has suddenly doubled and become bumpy, this is a strong indicator of melanoma
Who Is at Risk for Developing Melanoma?
Those most at risk of developing melanoma are people who spend a considerable amount of time under the sun. However, there are also patients who are at risk because they have incredibly fair skin. These patients are very susceptible to sunburns, which can be a major cause for skin cancer of different types.
Patients who live closer to the equator where the climate is hotter are at risk, as well. The same goes for those living in elevated areas like mountains.
To diagnose melanoma, Dr. Clifford Perlis, Karne Limaye, and Amy Levinson will first look for moles, spots, lesions, freckles, scars, and other skin issues. If there are no obvious indicators of melanoma, a more thorough examination will be conducted. This might include areas that are not often exposed to sunlight such as the palm or the skin between the toes.
If skin imperfections appear to be suspect, they will be observed to see if they grow. If there are changes in appearance, diameter, and color in the follow-up checkup, a diagnosis can be made.
The treatment options for melanoma will depend on what stage it is in, the age of the patient, their overall health, and other factors. Potential side-effects will also be considered since some treatment options can result in new issues.
Surgery can be used to remove the cancerous tumor from the skin. Dr. Perlis, Karen Limaye, or Amy Levinson will take a biopsy of the suspicious lesion. If the diagnosis is melanoma, Dr. Perlis will excise the skin around the biopsy site and send it to the lab for further testing to make sure there is no more cancer present.
If the melanoma has spread, immunotherapy or targeted therapy can be used. Chemotherapy is reserved for more advanced stages. For the most severe cases, radiation therapy might be used after the tumor is removed.
Find Out More Today
Interested in learning about your treatment options for melanoma in Philadelphia? If so, contact Keystone Dermatology Partners. Dr. Clifford Perlis will be available to answer any questions or concerns regarding skin cancer.