As the most serious and potentially fatal form of skin cancer, it is important to understand the warning signs and risk factors associated with malignant melanoma.
Know the ABCs of Melanoma
When diagnosed and treated in the early stages, melanoma can have as much as a 100% cure rate, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While most commonly diagnosed in older adults between the ages of 40 and 65, more and more younger adults are being diagnosed with this form of skin cancer than ever before. Melanoma can affect anyone, but there are certain risk factors that can predispose a person to developing the condition. They include:
- Fairer skin
- Prolonged ultraviolet (UV) light exposure through natural sunlight and tanning beds
- History of sunburns in childhood
- Environment – people living closer to the Equator and at higher elevations generally have more exposure to UV rays from the sun
- Abnormal/large number of moles
- Family history of melanoma
- Weakened immune system
In order to catch melanoma early and increase the likelihood of successful treatment, it is important to regularly monitor changes and irregularities to freckles and moles, and seek immediate treatment.
ABCs of Melanoma
A – Asymmetry – Moles and freckles where the two halves do not evenly match are asymmetrical and may be a sign of melanoma
B – Borders – Moles and freckles with uneven edges and borders can signal melanoma
C – Color – Non-cancerous (benign) moles are usually uniform in color, most often a single shade of brown. Moles that are several shades of brown, black, red, blue, and white can be cancerous
D – Diameter- Larger than a pencil eraser
E- Evolving – Changing over time
Why See An Orthopedic Oncologist for Melanoma
Los Angeles based orthopedic oncologist Dr. Daniel C. Allison has specialized expertise in the early detection and treatment methods for melanoma that can keep the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.
To learn more about skin cancer treatment, visit cancer.gov.
If you are concerned about your risk for melanoma, or if you have already been diagnosed with skin cancer, contact Dr. Allison today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule an appointment.
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