Melanoma Skin Cancer
Melanoma skin cancer is the most serious form of skin cancer. It occurs when skin suffers DNA damage, which triggers mutations in the cells. The skin cells then rapidly multiply and create malignant tumors in the melanocytes, or skin cells that produce pigment. Melanoma tumors often first resemble moles, but some can even develop in moles. Recognizing the signs of melanoma, performing regular skin checks and visiting Dr. Ghasri regularly can all help reduce your risk.
Although melanoma skin cancer is the deadliest form of skin cancer, it is highly treatable and even curable when recognized early. According to the American Cancer Society, about 120,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed every year in the United States. Nearly 70,000 of these cases are invasive. Early identification is critical to ensuring the best possible outcomes. Treatment options can include topical chemotherapy, surgical excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, cryosurgery and electrodessication and curettage. Treatments are recommended based on the stage of the cancer and your specific needs.
Most people have at least a few moles or other spots and growths on their skin. These are usually benign conditions that do not signify the presence of cancer. However, people with more than 100 moles are at a higher risk of developing melanoma skin cancer, which tends to present as a change in an existing mole. Check your skin for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, which refer to asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolution. Normal moles are symmetrical, have smooth borders, even colors, small diameters and do not change over time.
Dysplastic or abnormal moles tend to be asymmetrical, irregular in color, have notched or uneven borders, are larger than a pencil eraser or may change over time. These moles should be monitored for changes and further evaluated when necessary. Most moles and abnormalities are benign, but any area that is new, different or unusual or that varies from other moles should be checked out.
Because nearly 9,000 Americans die of melanoma skin cancer every year, early identification is critical. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule your consultation with our Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Ghasri today.
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