• Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer

    on Mar 10th, 2017

Melanoma is the most lethal skin cancer! 

What is melanoma?

Malignant melanoma is a cancerous growth on your skin that develops when DNA damage occurs in your skin cells.  The presence of malignant melanoma can be attributed to both genetics and ultraviolet radiation (sun damage).  Melanoma first develops in the basal layer of the skin.  

What does melanoma look like?

Melanoma looks like a mole and is characterized by a brown or black appearance, but it can also be skin-colored as well.  

Is melanoma really life-threatening?

Melanoma is definitely life threatening but is curable if detected early.  I always suggest wearing a sunblock with both UVA & UVB protection in excess of SPF 50.  Those who sunbathe often or get a sunburn are more susceptible to skin cancer.  

Melanoma can be detected clinically by its appearance on the skin, but a confirmation in diagnosis is performed by taking a biopsy in order to examine the specimen under a microscope by a dermatopathologist.  

75,000 Americans are diagnosed with Malignant melanoma every year, resulting in approximately 10,000 deaths annually.  If detected early, treatment is very effective; however, if melanoma proceeds to the second layer of the skin, metastatic potential arises.   

What is the best treatment plan for melanoma?

The primary treatment is a wider excision with possible lymph dissection.  More recently, immune enhancing medications have been aiding in the fight against more advances cases malignant melanoma, which have been previously untreatable.  The best treatment remains prevention and early diagnosis.  I can not stress how important it is to have an annual skin cancer screening, and to use sunblock when outside.

Craig Austin, M.D.

Board Certified Dermatogist & Dermatopathologist 

Cane + Austin Medi Spa

120 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10065

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