What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It can be referred to as the "most serious skin cancer" because it can spread from the skin to the other parts of the body. When detected early, it can be treated effectively. The key to finding melanoma early is to perform skin self-exams to check for the signs or changes on your skin. If you have areas of concern or would like to schedule an annual skin check, make an appointment online or contact our Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology.
Know the ABCDEs of Melanoma:
- A: asymmetry – Most melanomas are not symmetrical. Imagine a line down the center of a mole – do the two sides match? If not, it’s time to talk to your primary care provider or a dermatologist.
- B: borders irregular – Melanoma borders are often uneven with scalloped or notched edges. These require the attention of a medical provider.
- C: color changes or different colors within the mole – Non-cancerous moles and lesions will be uniform in color, both over time and throughout the lesion itself. Moles that are different colors, or change color over time should be examined.
- D: diameter greater than 6 mm (pencil eraser) – The best time to detect and treat melanoma is early on when it is small so moles that are large – or have grown larger – need to be brought to the attention of your medical provider.
- E: elevation/evolving- Any mole that changes in size, shape or color or starts to bleed, hurt or itch should be looked at by a medical provider right away and biopsied if concerning.
Early detection is key. If you notice any of these ABCDEs in any of your moles, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.
How is Melanoma Treated?
A patient who has melanoma will often have surgery to remove all of the cancer. The type of surgery will depend on the type and depth of the melanoma, as well as the location on the body. The type of treatment you receive depends on the following:
What is Mohs Surgery?
Also called Mohs micrographic surgery, it is a unique procedure to treat skin cancer, where the mohs surgeon can see where the cancer stops. Mohs surgery allows you to keep as much healthy skin as possible because the provider removes the skin with cancer cells. Mohs surgery can be safely performed in-office at Christie Clinic.