What is Melanoma?
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.
"I have been using Advanced Dermatology to treat skin cancer for 20 years. Their service has always been great."- A.C. / Google / Feb 18, 2023
"The front desk welcome was genuine and they made me feel relaxed during my checkin. Skin cancer screening was done efficiently and with patient dignity in mind; very kind and friendly doctor makes all the difference!"- V.G. / Google / Feb 11, 2023
"Kendra is awesome. Thorough and kind. She has treated me for skin cancer and I appreciate her and the rest of the staff immensely."- K.D. / Google / Feb 11, 2023
"Always professional, courteous service. Virginia Marx does a really good job of explaining the "what and why" of what needs to be done regarding my proclivity of skin issues; especially skin cancer."- J.E. / Google / Mar 03, 2023
"I don’t understand all the negative reviews. I have been going here for 15 years, fighting psoriasis, getting Botox, and a few other fun anti-aging treatments. Mostly, I see Dr. Duncan for psoriasis covering my whole body. I’ve fought psoriasis my entire life, since 4 months old - for real. I’ve seen many many doctors in my 54 years, and the standard treatments I received as a child, we now know were harmful and cause skin cancer. At the time in the 70s it was the standard clinical treatment. I see Dr. Duncan every 3 or 4 months now and she is a warrior, a true warrior that battles my skin with me. I have never been clear, never, until I saw Dr. Duncan 15 years ago. Anyone with severe psoriasis knows this kind of battle and what works one day, doesn’t work the next. She is the only, and I mean ONLY doctor in my life that has worked so hard to help me and get my skin clear. She has all of the latest medications and biologics. Yes she talks fast, yes there is a wait sometimes, but it’s worth it. And you should speak up and ask her to slow down if you aren’t happy with the way the visit is going. Patients have a responsibility too, and Dr. Duncan can’t be expected to know what style a patient prefers without the patient speaking up. She is not in my network so I am a cash pay patient and I have NEVER had any issues with extra changes or anything not explained to me in detail beforehand, not in 15 years of going here. Everyone has a bad experience sometime, but there is no way all of these people with such negative reviews are being completely truthful. If you want to look great with realistic Botox, Dr. Duncan is the one to see. If you have a skin issue like psoriasis, Dr. Duncan is the one to see. She will fight with you. She makes me feel beautiful and gives me clear skin. She has literally saved my life because psoriasis is more than skin deep. Read the reviews on their website. I think they are more accurate."- C.S. / Yelp / May 04, 2023
Are You at risk for Melanoma?
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.
What ARe the Symptoms of Melanoma?
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.
Melanoma Treatment Techniques
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.
How do you prevent melanoma?
The best way to prevent melanoma is to practice sun safety. This includes wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and hats, avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours (10 am–4 pm), applying sunscreen frequently, and avoiding tanning beds. Attend regular skin exams with your dermatologist to check for suspicious moles and lesions that may be indicative of melanoma.
How often should I check my skin for melanoma?
It's important to self-examine your skin on a regular basis, at least once every month. Look for moles and lesions that look different than others, or have any of the ABCDE signs of melanoma. If you see anything suspicious, please contact our staff in Houston, TX as soon as possible. Don't wait to get checked out!
Does skin cancer treatment hurt?
Depending on the type of treatment you receive, there may be some discomfort during and/or after the procedure. However, our professionals at Advanced Dermatology always ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible beforehand, including melanoma removal. We also offer recommendations for pain management if needed.
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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