Melanoma is a life-threatening type of skin cancer. However, it’s highly curable when found early. Michael Osofsky, MD, Brian Pucevich, MD, Saba Ali, MD, and the team at Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, specialize in diagnosing and treating melanoma. To schedule a skin cancer evaluation, call the office or request an appointment online today.
Melanoma is a serious and deadly skin cancer that grows and spreads to other organs quickly. The cancer develops from melanocytes, which are your skin’s pigmented cells.
Though researchers are still investigating what causes melanoma, they theorize it occurs from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or a tanning lamp.
Melanoma looks like a misshapen mole. A mole is a benign brown, black, or flesh-colored skin growth.
The Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania team uses the ABCDE acronym to help you differentiate between a normal mole and melanoma. ABCDE stands for:
Most moles are noncancerous. However, if you have an irritating or changing mole, the team can easily remove it.
The Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania team does a thorough history and physical when you come in for a melanoma consultation. Your dermatologist reviews your medical history and family history and closely examines your skin.
If you have an abnormal mole or dark spot, the team may take a biopsy and send the tissue to an outside lab for analysis by a dermatopathologist.
Treatment for melanoma depends on the stage of your growth.
A stage 0 melanoma means the cancer only affects the top layer of your skin. Typically, a dermatologist team surgically removes this growth.
Stage I melanoma may affect deeper layers of your skin, but isn’t spreading. The dermatologist will typically recommend an excision in order to remove the cancerous lesion.
With stage II melanoma, you’re at greater risk of a recurrence of your cancer, but the cancer hasn’t spread. Your dermatologist treats this type of skin cancer by removing the growth and a margin of healthy skin around it.
If you have stage III melanoma, your cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of your skin. Treatment includes removal of the skin growths and the affected lymph nodes and then chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other targeted therapies.
In stage IV, your melanoma has spread to distant lymph nodes and other internal organs. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or clinical trials.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important! Don’t wait to schedule your skin cancer evaluation. Call Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania or request an appointment online today.