Despite advances in treatment, melanoma still casts a shadow over the lives of many. Though it is the least common skin cancer, it is the most common to adults in their mid-to-late 20s. It is also the most virulent form of skin cancer by far. The key to successfully treating melanoma is finding it early and addressing it before it spreads and invades the rest of the body; melanoma detection and treatment while it is in the early stages can be curative and has a close to 100% survival rate.
Detecting Early-Stage Melanoma
One of the most important strategies for detecting melanoma early is to perform a thorough examination of your body on a regular basis. Any new moles or moles that change in appearance should be immediately examined by a dermatologist. Keep in mind the ABCDE rules that suggest a possible melanoma while performing your self exam:
- Asymmetrical shape
- Border is ragged or uneven
- Colors such as black, brown, tan, red, white, blue
- Diameter has increased or is larger than a pencil eraser
- Evolving meaning the mole is changing in appearance and/or texture
In addition to performing a monthly self-exam, it is a good idea to undergo a routine melanoma screening examination by a dermatologist. In addition to performing a visual examination of the skin, dermatologists these days also often use a special instrument to more closely examine any pigmented lesions for possible signs of melanoma. Dermoscopes are instruments that use special lighting and magnification to help the doctor distinguish between normal and abnormal tissues.
Who Should Get Screened
Individuals who have itching or growing moles, dark streaks under the fingernails, pearly or dome-shaped growths, and/or problematic sores are at higher risk of melanoma and may want to consider performing monthly self-checks and getting regular exams.
If you would like to learn more about melanoma detection, reach out for an appointment with Gold Skin Care! Our team will thoroughly discuss your risk level and help you decide which type of detection plan is right for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!