Melanoma

Melanoma Treatment in Peoria, AZ

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If detected and treated early, it is nearly 100% curable. However, if left untreated or undetected for a while, it can quickly spread to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system and can be fatal. As with any cancer, early detection is the key to a favorable outcome in the fight against Melanoma.

Melanoma develops in cells called melanocytes, which are the cells that give color to the skin and get darker when you're in the sun and get a tan. The majority of Melanomas are brown or black, but can be pink, purple, red or flesh toned. They can be raised or flat, are usually asymmetrical, and are typically larger than the eraser head of a pencil. These are all general rules, and, of course, none of them are set in stone. The only way to know for sure if you have a Melanoma is to seek treatment by a qualified physician.

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the surface of the skin. However, it is most common on the head, neck, chest, abdomen, back, or lower legs. This cancer is rare in darker skinned people. The chance of developing Melanoma increases with age, but it can occur at any age. Melanoma is the most common type of cancer among young adults.

According to Dr. Perry Robins MD, President of, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Just one blistering sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing Melanoma later in life."

Risk Factors

  • Sun exposure - Sunburns increase your risk, but cumulative sun exposure also increases your risk of developing skin cancer. ALL UV rays increase your risk of developing all types of skin cancer including Melanoma.
  • Skin color or type - The lighter skin color you have, the more at risk you are. This is the same risk with all skin cancers, not just Melanoma.
  • Family History - Approximately 1 in 10 patients diagnosed with Melanoma has a family member with Melanoma. If someone in your immediate family, (i.e.: mother, father, sister, brother, or child) has had a Melanoma you are at an increased risk.
  • Moles - Moles are called nevi and are common. They may be present at birth (congenital) or develop over time throughout your life (acquired). People who are exposed to more sunlight are more likely to develop more moles over time, however, there has been no definite link found between sun exposure and mole development. Regardless whether your moles are congenital or acquired, you are at a higher risk for developing Melanoma.
  • Weakened Immune Systems - Immune systems compromised as a result of chemotherapy, an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, other types of cancer, lupus, or lymphoma are at higher risk for all types of skin cancer including Melanoma. Be aware that this is not a complete list of diseases and medical causes that can weaken your immune system, this is only meant to be a list of examples that can weaken your immune system.

What You Can Do To Limit Your Risk

  • Limit UV exposure.
  • Wear sun screen. Sun screen should contain titanium or zinc oxide and have a high SPF. Sun Screen should be reapplied every few hours to be affective.
  • Wear clothing that covers sun exposed area whenever possible including: long sleeves, long pants, and a wide brimmed hat.
  • See a physician qualified in diagnosing and treating Melanoma regularly if you have increased risk factors.

For More Information:

American Academy of Dermatology
Telephone: (888)462-3376
www.aad.org

American Cancer Society
Telephone: (800)227-2345
www.cancer.org

Skin Cancer Foundation
Telephone: (800)754-6490
www.skincancer.org

National Cancer Institute
Telephone: (800) 422-6237
www.cancer.gov