Skin cancer is a scary diagnosis. Luckily, with treatment, many patients can heal and continue with a better quality of life. The doctors at Florida Skin Center in Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Fort Myers proudly offer screenings, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a skin cancer that often looks like a multicolored, irregularly shaped, or inflamed mole. Approximately 20 million Caucasians located in the United States have dysplastic nevus syndrome and many relatives are affected.
Those with a family history of dysplastic nevi are twice as likely to develop melanoma by the time they reach the age of 60. Others have a greater risk of developing melanoma than the overall population, up to 10 percent. Therefore, patients are encouraged to participate in annual professional examinations, self-examinations, and the regular use of sun protection.
If melanoma is detected early, before it spreads, it is usually curable with simple surgical treatment. If neglected, it may be fatal.
If any of your moles have some of the following characteristics you should consult a dermatologist immediately:
How Does a Mole Become Melanoma?
Melanoma is a cancer that arises from the pigment cells of the skin or from similar cells that make up moles.
After a period of time – from months to years – this type of cancer sends down ‘roots’ into deeper layers of the skin. Some of these microscopic extensions can spread new tumor growths (metastases) to vital organs of the body.
In people with dysplastic nevi and a family history of dysplastic nevi and melanoma, cancer often develops in the thirties, and occasionally in teenagers. In people with dysplastic nevi, without a family history of dysplastic nevi and melanoma, the average age for melanoma development is in the mid-forties.
Cases of melanoma in the United States are rising dramatically. In 1980, one person out of 250 had a risk of developing melanoma during a lifetime. Fortunately, melanoma is one of the easiest tumors to find and one of the easiest to cure if it is found and removed early. If allowed to progress to the point of metastases, the prognosis (forecast) is very poor. At times, it is difficult to distinguish between dysplastic nevi and early melanoma. To establish the difference, your doctor will remove the mole and have it examined in the laboratory.
Remember, the mole that undergoes a notable change in size, shape, or color should be suspected of being melanoma.
What are the Signs of Melanoma?
Below are the ABCDEs of Melanoma:
One half is unlike the other half
Irregular, scalloped or poorly-defined border.
Varied color from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red or blue.
Melanomas are usually greater in size than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color
Florida Skin Center is one of the nation’s top providers of skin checks, having performed over 700 complimentary screenings and discovering 17 cases of skin cancer so far. If you notice the unusual growth of a mole, or haven’t received a screening in over 12 months, you should contact us today. We treat guests in the communities of Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres.