Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It originates in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanoma skin cancers can occur anywhere on the body. Previous sunburns and other intense exposures to UV rays can cause melanoma. Genetic predisposition also influences a person’s chances of developing this disease.
The good news is that if found early, melanoma is almost always curable. However, if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body where it can become more difficult to treat. It is important that you administer a self-exam once a month to identify any potential skin cancers early. Take note of any new skin formations and any existing moles or growths that have changed or grown significantly. Listed below are some warning signs that you should look for when examining your skin:
- Uneven borders
- Variety of colors
- Large diameters
- Changing in shape, size or color
If you notice any of these characteristics or you are concerned about a mole or growth, schedule an appointment with a physician. He or she will biopsy the area to determine whether or not there are cancer cells present. If you are diagnosed with melanoma, the physician will then design an effective treatment plan for you. Early stage cancers can often be treated with surgery alone. More advanced cancers may require chemotherapy, radiation and/or immunotherapy.
FirstHealth Moore Regional FirstHealth Cancer Services in Pinehurst provides skin cancer treatment and therapy for patients suffering from melanoma in Sanford, Raeford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Troy and Rockingham regions of NC and beyond.