Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, and can spread to other parts of the body. It typically presents as a new or changing pigmented lesion, such as a changing mole. There are several forms of melanoma, all with a different prognosis. Generally, the deeper the lesion penetrates into the skin, the worse the prognosis. Most melanomas can be cured if detected early and treated appropriately. At GK Dermatology, melanoma specialists – South Weymouth MA, we offer South Shore MA and Greater Boston patients treatment options.
Melanoma Risk Factors
Patients with fair complexion (fair or light skin, blond or red hair, blue, green or hazel eyes), large number of moles, and history of sunburns and easy burns in the sun are at highest risk for melanoma. Additional risk factors include personal history of melanoma, family history of melanoma, and history of tanning bed use.
Warning Signs of Melanoma?
Performing periodic skin self-examinations can help in the early detection of melanoma. Specific instructions on how to perform periodic skin self-examinations are provided by your dermatologist. Most patients can tell when one of their moles looks different or is growing in an odd fashion. The ABCDE’s of pigmented lesions (shown on the right) is an easy way to remember the most common features of atypical moles and melanoma. Other suspicious changes include an itching, burning, painful or bleeding mole, and a pigmented lesion that looks like a bruise that doesn’t heal.
- A-symmetry: a lesion that shows asymmetric shape.
- B-order irregularity: a lesion that is not perfectly round or oval.
- C-olor: a lesion that presents with a mix of different colors and shades.
- D-iameter: a lesion that is larger than the end of a pencil eraser.
- E-volution: a lesion that is significantly changing over time.
Treatment of Melanoma by Melanoma Specialists – South Weymouth MA
Excision and Mohs surgery are in-office procedures that remove the cancer and an amount of the surrounding tissue. Depending on the tumor depth, a sentinel lymph node biopsy that tests whether the tumor has spread to the local lymph nodes may be required. This procedure can be performed by a surgical oncologist or surgeon. As Melanoma Specialists – South Weymouth MA, GK Dermatology can help coordinate your care, refer you to an oncologist, if necessary, and follow you throughout the entire course of your treatment.