General, Surgical, & Cosmetic Dermatology & Mohs Surgery located in Midtown East, New York, NY
Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, but fortunately, not the most common type. If you have symptoms that indicate the potential for melanoma, the skilled dermatologists at Manhattan Dermatology’s two locations in New York City’s Murray Hill and Midtown East specialize in identifying and treating this serious type of skin cancer. As experienced dermatologists who teach at New York University, you can trust that you’re receiving the best skin cancer care available in the metro area. Call for an appointment or schedule one using the online booking system.
Melanoma Q & A
What causes melanoma?
The cells in your skin that produce pigment are called melanocytes. When these cells mutate and turn cancerous, it’s known as melanoma. Sunburn and sun exposure seem to be the biggest causes of melanoma, but the exact cause isn’t always clear, as you can get melanomas on areas of your body that don’t get much ultraviolet radiation, like the soles of your feet.
Melanoma can form in your eyes as well as on your skin, and the risk of developing this form of skin cancer is increasing for people under 40 years old. Melanoma is rare in people who have naturally darker skin tones. Some risk factors for developing melanoma include:
- Having fair skin and light eyes
- Having a lot of freckles
- Having a large number of moles
- The presence of age spots
- Having red or blond hair
- Family history of melanoma
- Having received an organ transplant
Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer because of its tendency to spread rather quickly.
What are the symptoms of melanoma?
The symptoms of melanoma may be hard to detect at first, so it’s important to check your moles and visit your dermatologist on a regular basis so you can be aware of any changes or suspicious activity. Changes in the appearance of a mole are usually the first sign of a problem.
In general, pay attention to the following:
- Change in the shape or color of a mole
- Sudden appearance of a new mole
- A skin sore that won’t heal
- A spot that looks waxy, shiny, or smooth
- A flat, red, scaly spot
- A firm, red lump that bleeds
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What is the treatment for melanoma?
If you do have melanoma, your doctor at Manhattan Dermatology determines the best course of action. Typically, the melanoma can be surgically removed. If it has spread to a larger area, you may need a skin graft. Or, if the cancer spreads to your lymph nodes, you may need further treatment such as medications or chemotherapy, but that’s fairly uncommon.
Your best defense against melanoma is prevention and early detection. Wear sunscreen, especially if you have fair skin or burn easily. And, make regularly scheduled visits to your dermatologist so if you do have melanoma, your doctor can diagnose and treat it early to avoid further complications.
To make an appointment for a cancer screening, call the office closest to you, or use the online booking system.
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