Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, contributing to 10,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment is critical to your chances of successfully fighting skin cancer. The team of expert dermatologists at Vanguard Dermatology provides melanoma screenings and treatment at their seven offices located in New York City, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, and Staten Island, New York. If you have an abnormal mole or a personal or family history of skin cancer, call Vanguard Dermatology today or make an appointment online.
Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that affects the melanocytes, the cells that produce the melanin in your skin. Melanoma can also form on your eyes or any mucous membrane of your body, although it’s most often identified as cutaneous melanoma on your skin.
In 90% of cases, melanoma is linked to too much exposure to the harmful UV rays in sunlight or other sources. The UV rays damage your skin cells, altering their composition, potentially triggering the cancerous growth. Other factors that contribute to your risk of skin cancer include your personal and family medical history and other environmental factors.
When you develop melanoma on your skin, in most cases, it’s easy to spot and get treatment for. You should keep an eye on your skin at home, checking your moles and freckles for the ABCDE signs of skin cancer.
If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer and melanoma, you should also have periodic skin screenings with a licensed dermatologist. Your dermatologist can check parts of your body that you can’t see easily and can use equipment to identify melanoma before it becomes evident to the naked eye.
Your doctor at Vanguard Dermatology has specialized training to identify skin cancer in its earliest stages. You disrobe, and your doctor asks about any changes you’ve noticed, your history of sunburns, and use of sunscreen.
Then starting at the top of your head, your doctor examines your skin, fingernails, ears, and the back of your neck. You can develop skin cancer on areas that aren’t often exposed to the sun, so your doctor will even check between your fingers and toes and the soles of your feet.
If your doctor finds any suspicious moles, they may perform a biopsy to test for cancerous cells. Biopsies are usually either a scrape of cells or a puncture procedure. If you doctor finds melanoma, they talk to you about your options for removal.
If you’re concerned about an abnormal mole or new growth on your skin, call or schedule an appointment online for a professional skin cancer screening today.