Dermatology Specialists of Gainesville
Dermatologists located in Newberry, FL & Chiefland, FL
Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that requires aggressive action. Dr. Christina Mitchell and the team at Dermatology Specialists of Gainesville in Newberry, Florida, deliver thorough diagnostic and treatment services for melanoma. If you’re concerned about a mole or spot on your skin or are looking for treatment options, book a visit with Dermatology Specialists of Gainesville today, online or by phone.
Melanoma Q & A
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of cancer that almost always originates in the skin. The cancer develops in your melanocytes, which are the cells that produce the melanin that gives your hair, eyes, and skin its distinct color. Melanocytes also create moles, which is why melanoma is often found in abnormal moles.
There are three different types of melanoma. Cutaneous melanomas begin in your skin. The other two types develop in your mucous membranes and eye.
Researchers believe that sun exposure is to blame for as many as 90% of all melanoma cases. Genetics also seems to play a role, and environmental factors are also believed to increase your risk of developing melanoma.
How is melanoma diagnosed?
Melanoma often presents clear signs that are visible on the surface of your skin. That makes it relatively easy to detect in the early stages. Left untreated, melanoma can spread to your lungs, liver, brain, and bones. At that point, it becomes much more challenging to treat.
You can and should periodically check your skin for moles that show signs of melanoma using the ABCDE system. Those letters stand for:
- A - asymmetrical sides
- B - borders that are irregular or uneven
- C - coloration that varies within the mole
- D - diameter larger than a pencil eraser
- E - evolution, or changes in size, color, or shape
No one knows your skin better than you, so if you notice these changes you should not hesitate to schedule a diagnostic exam. Your dermatologist can examine your skin and perform a biopsy to find answers, if necessary.
How is melanoma treated?
Caught in the early stages melanoma can be treated with simple excision of the spot and a small portion of the surrounding skin. No additional treatment is required, although you may want to come in for more frequent skin checks.
If melanoma has spread you may need more aggressive treatment, which might include chemotherapy, lymph node surgery, radiation therapy or drug or biological therapy. You’ll likely be referred to an oncologist to look into these treatment tools.
To explore melanoma treatment in more depth or to have a questionable mole or spot checked by a dermatologist, schedule a visit today. Online scheduling makes it easy to find a time that fits your busy life, or you can check availability over the phone.