Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and the American Cancer Society asserts that more than 91,000 men and women in America are diagnosed each year. For those in Houston, TX, Kingwood, TX, & Sugar Land, Texas, Dr. Joseph Sedrak of EpiDermatology offers the latest in melanoma diagnosis and treatment. Working with an experienced specialist can not only improve your treatment outcomes, but it can also reduce the stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Schedule an appointment online or by phone to meet with Dr. Sedrak and discuss your next steps.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer the originates in your melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for creating pigment to color your hair, eyes, and skin. There are three categories of melanoma. Cutaneous melanoma occurs in your skin cells, while mucosal melanoma occurs in your mucous membranes. Ocular melanoma occurs in your eye tissues.
Melanoma differs from most other cancers because it can be seen with the human eye. Diagnosis, however, comes with microscopic inspection.
Scientists believe that exposure to ultraviolet light causes approximately 90% of all melanoma cases. It’s also believed that genetic and environmental factors play a causal role.
You can reduce your risk of developing melanoma by taking precautions to reduce sun exposure. Staying out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, wearing a good quality sunscreen on a daily basis, and covering your skin with protective clothing while outdoors can lower your risk.
Another important part of prevention is performing annual skin checks to look for changes or irregularities.
Everyone’s skin is unique and has areas of uneven pigmentation. You may have freckles, moles, darker areas and lighter areas. It’s important to stay familiar with how your skin looks so you can spot changes if and when they occur.
Changes in existing moles can indicate melanoma, including:
Another cause for concern is a new skin growth or sore that looks different from your freckles or moles.
Once you receive a diagnosis, you’ll learn the stage of your melanoma. Treatment depends on how advanced the cancer is and whether it has spread to other areas of your body.
Surgical removal of the cancerous cells is usually part of treatment. In some cases, a small portion of the surrounding tissue is removed. A skin flap or skin graft can help cover the surgical site.
Because melanoma can be life-threatening, treatment must focus on removing all cancerous tissue. Surgeons try to take a conservative approach and remove only the necessary skin layers.
If you’re concerned about a change in your skin or have received a diagnosis of melanoma, schedule a consultation with Dr. Sedrak online or by phone to determine the best course of action.