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The Basics of Melanoma

May 18, 2016

Dermatologists often recommend that all adult patients schedule visits for regular skin cancer screening. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, but with regular screenings, early detection is possible. Melanoma detected early has the best possible prognosis. These kinds of skin cancers develop when damaged skin cells begin to mutate, causing them to rapidly multiply. Eventually, malignant tumors form.


As your dermatologist will advise you, melanoma is usually caused by intense and occasional exposure to sunlight. This type of intense UV, or ultraviolet, exposure may or may not be accompanied by a severe sunburn. Factors that make you more likely to get melanoma include having many moles on your skin, having light colored skin, and having a family history of melanoma.


While melanoma is often detected by a dermatologist, you can also look out for warning signs on your own. To conduct a self-exam, it helps to know the ABCDEs of melanoma. First, look for asymmetry in a mole, meaning its two sides do not match up. A malignant mole may also have uneven borders. Melanoma can also appear as many different shades at once, while healthy moles are just one color. Finally, melanoma usually has a larger diameter than the typical mole and its shape, size, and color may evolve over time.


Not all skin cancers are the same, and melanoma treatment differs from carcinoma treatment. Melanoma treatment may involve simply removing the skin cancer with a minor surgery. However, more invasive surgery may be recommended as an alternative to simple excision. With this technique, a dermatologist removes deeper layers of skin.

Arlington Dermatology is proud to offer comprehensive melanoma treatment to patients in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, and Mount Prospect. If you are concerned about the appearance of any of moles or skin lesions, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. You can visit us online to find out more about our services or call us at [company-phone id=1].

woman with sunscreen on leg in the shape of a sun