Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, but when found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Melanoma skin cancers occur less frequently than basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas but are significantly more lethal, killing 1 person every hour in the U.S. Melanoma can arise by itself or from a pre-existing mole that becomes rapidly growing, itching, bleeding, or changing its color or surface. Unlike most cancers, the incidence of melanoma is on the rise.
People at Risk for Melanoma
Anyone can get melanoma. Most people who get it have light skin, but people who have brown and black skin also get melanoma. Many are white men who are 50 years or older. More young people also are getting melanoma. Melanoma is now the most common cancer among people 25-29 years old. Even teenagers are getting melanoma.
Those at higher risk of getting melanoma have the following traits:
Causes of Melanoma
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major contributor in most cases. We get UV radiation from the sun, tanning beds, and sun lamps. Heredity also plays a role. If a close blood relative had melanoma, a person has a much greater risk of getting melanoma.
What should I look for?
It’s important to take time to look at the moles and brown spots on your skin because this is a good way to find melanoma early. When checking your skin, you should look for the ABCDEs of melanoma.
You can prevent the development of melanoma by protecting your skin from sun exposure, wearing a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen, and avoiding the use of tanning beds. Regular daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
Most skin cancers are treated with surgery, which can include either Mohs Micrographic Surgery or Surgical Excision. Dr. Curcio specializes in Skin Cancer Surgery. In addition, she has extensive experience in cosmetic and laser surgery and can help you attain the best possible outcome in treating your post-operative scar.