What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma typically appear in a mole-like shape with an uneven brown or black color. However, the cancer can sometimes appear to be pink, blue, red, purple or white. While melanoma accounts for an estimated 9,940 deaths annually, the cancer is treatable and curable when detected at an early enough stage.
What Causes Melanoma?
As one of the world’s fastest growing skin cancers, anyone can be at risk for the disease. However, increased risk factors include:
- Excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays
- The use of tanning beds. Exposing your skin to a tanning bed before the age of 30 can result in a 75 percent increase of the chance of melanoma
- Family history of melanoma
- A weakened immune system
To help catch and treat melanoma early, everyone should get annual skin cancer screenings. To schedule a skin cancer screening, call the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110.
Melanoma Warning Signs
It is important to examine your entire body for the following:
- New growths or moles
- Growths or moles that have changed in shape, size or color
- A difference in sensation, itchiness or pain in an area of the skin
- An unhealed sore
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, contact the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale immediately at (480) 596-1110.
Melanoma Prevention Tips
Be proactive and healthy by implementing these melanoma prevention tips:
- Receive an annual skin cancer screening from your skincare professional
- Consistently examine your own skin for odd rashes, moles or growths
- Avoid tanning beds
- Stay in shaded or indoor areas between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Use sunscreen when outdoors. For everyday use, with incidental sun exposure, SPF of 15 may be adequate. But for more intense exposures and outdoor exposure for an extended amount of time, make sure sunscreen is water resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher. In the end, SPF 30 or greater is the most preferred strength for all levels of exposure.
First, the melanoma must be surgically removed. Depending on the patient’s case and current stage of melanoma, a different surgical produce will take place. This could include biopsy and/or removal of lymph nodes. Depending on the level of cancer, chemotherapy may also be needed. This is typically only necessary in the most advanced lesions. Early detection and early treatment lead to the lowest amount of intervention and the best outcomes.
If you are concerned about an abnormal mole, skin growth or odd skin rash, schedule a skin screening with one of our dermatology specialists today by calling Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale at (480) 596-1110.