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Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma is one type of skin cancer. While only about three percent of all skin cancers are types of melanoma, about 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from melanoma. Melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, begins in the skin cells that produce pigment (color) for the skin. These cells are called the melanocytes. Most malignant melanomas will first begin as a mole or discolored patch of skin that later develops into cancer. Sometimes, the pre-cancerous cells can remain in the top layers of the skin (the epidermis) for many years – sometimes even decades – before they begin to spread into deeper layers of the skin. But one type of melanoma, called nodular melanoma, can quickly invade deeper skin layers and grow into other tissues throughout the body. When this happens, melanoma can become difficult to treat. Most people who die from melanoma have nodular melanoma. 

Who can get melanoma?

Melanoma is most common in people with light skin and light hair, but anyone can get it. So, it’s important for everyone – no matter how dark their skin tone is – to protect themselves from ultraviolet rays when outside and to learn how to do skin self-examinations. This process involves looking for skin changes that may be skin cancer. 

People with certain genetic conditions may be at greater risk for developing melanoma. Learn more about the causes and risks of melanoma and what you can do to prevent it.

Can melanoma be treated?

Melanoma can usually be treated effectively and cured if it is found before it spreads. This is why it’s so important to understand the causes and risks of melanoma and to know your own personal risk factors. It’s also important to know what to look for. The ABCDEs of melanoma describe the usual characteristics of three of the four types of melanoma. The ABCDEs stand for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolution. Learn more about what this means and how to identify changes in your skin that may indicate cancer or precancerous growths. 

What are the signs and symptoms of melanoma?

There are several signs and symptoms of melanoma, but the most important one to remember is a mole or spot on your skin that is changing in size, shape or color. One of the things you can do to help prevent melanoma from developing is to get to know the skin all over your body so you will notice changes early – hopefully before the cancerous cells start to spread. Diagnosing and treating melanoma early is important because it can usually be cured if it’s caught before it spreads. So, learn how to do skin self-checks and what else you can do to help prevent melanoma. 

Melanoma care at Beaumont

If you have any signs and symptoms of melanoma, see a doctor right away to have a skin exam. You should also talk to your doctor about your risks for developing melanoma and whether you should do monthly skin self-examinations and have professional skin exams. Beaumont dermatologists can diagnose and treat melanoma, including performing Mohs’ surgery.

Call 877-232-8226 today to schedule an appointment with a Beaumont dermatologist or to get a referral.