The most aggressive known skin cancer is the malignant melanoma, which can be invasive and spread immediately to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, and even the brain. Half of the melanoma cases that we treat here in the Greater Houston, TX area at Advanced Dermatology occur in the moles that already exist. The other half comes from newly developed lesions that have a black or brown color. Getting a diagnosis and skin cancer treatment quickly is important in order to cure this type of malignancy. The good news is that most melanomas identified early can be treated with great success.
Melanoma is the least common but the most fatal type of skin cancer. For this reason, it is important to have moles examined annually, particularly if they are unusual in appearance, always changing, or you have a personal or family history of developing a melanoma. Our practitioners at Advanced Dermatology examine moles carefully and with due diligence. Melanoma generally begins with a mole (either existing or new) that shows signs of irregularity. In most patients, this means the mole has become very dark in color, has oddly defined borders, and has begun to grow in size, itches, or bleeds. If you would like to be assessed for skin cancer, please call and make an appointment at our Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX office at your earliest convenience.
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Are You at risk?
Melanocytes (pigmented cells in the epidermis) may turn malignant when exposed to sun or ultraviolet light that causes DNA damage to the cells. This DNA damage allows cells to mutate and grow rapidly, creating melanoma. Some people may also have an inherited predisposition for melanoma, making DNA damage from UV light particularly dangerous. Because the vast majority of melanomas can be seen on the skin, consistent mole checks and self-exams are very important to aid in early diagnosis and treatment. You have a higher risk of developing melanoma if you have already had skin cancer before, have many (varying in size) moles on your body, have used a tanning bed, have a light complexion with blonde or red hair, have blue, green, or gray-colored eyes, and/or have overexposed your skin to the sun.
Even though you are not medically trained to recognize melanoma, it is important to know the symptoms and evaluate your own skin for atypical moles/lesions. Our highly trained practitioners at Advanced Dermatology can educate you on the signs of malignancy by explaining the renowned ABCDE rule. A suspicious mole that needs to be checked out will have the following symptoms or indications:
A – Asymmetry
B – Border (less)
C – Color changes
D – Diameter distortions
E – Evolving evidence
This means that if you see indications of an old or new mole that is oddly shaped, without a clear border, has changed to a darker color, has spread in diameter, and is continuously changing — please make an appointment to have it assessed for skin cancer.
Any of our medical teams at Advanced Dermatology will include you in every part of the diagnosis and treatment process of your skin cancer. You will probably first have a biopsy of the mole or lesion so that it can be studied at the microscopic level. Once a diagnosis can be determined, then our practitioners will work quickly to plan and implement your treatment. There are many options for skin cancer removal at our practice, and the treatment is based on the stage your melanoma is in, the size of it, and where it is located on your body. In general, surgical excision is the best course of action to remove a malignant melanoma.
We make use of in-depth skin cancer treatments to treat all kinds of skin cancer. If deemed appropriate, we also have cryosurgery, electrodesiccation and curettage, topical chemotherapy, and Mohs micrographic surgery to treat skin cancer here at Advanced Dermatology.
Make The Right Call
Aggressive and unapologetic, malignant melanoma is the most fatal skin cancer to date. We see patients of all ages, skin types, and skin colors for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer. Even if you are unsure of what your skin is indicating with a changing mole or lesion, we would like to take a look and give you the peace of mind that comes along with taking care of your health. Being proactive with your skin's health is very admirable, especially if you know that you are at a higher risk for skin cancer. We can also teach you how to recognize the warning signs so that in the future, you can get the medical care you need to live a healthy life for as long as possible. Make Advanced Dermatology part of your medical team today by calling for an appointment for a skin cancer screening in Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX.
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A Patients’ Guide to Skin Cancer by Dr. Michael Pelster, MD, FAAD
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Why No One is Immune to Skin Cancer
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