What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a serious skin cancer, which is curable if detected early. Melanoma grows from pigment cells (melanocytes) in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Melanomas usually start as a skin lesion and tend to spread out within the epidermis before moving into the deeper layer of the skin (the dermis).
Who Can Get Melanoma?
Melanoma can occur in adults of any age. Anyone can get it. Early detection is key, so it is important to take time to look at the moles on your skin. When checking your skin, you should know the signs and symptoms of melanoma.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, More than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed in the United States annually. Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years. Caucasians and men older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.
- If you live in Denver, you live in one of the sunniest locations in the US, where the sun is shining 70% of our daylight hours- year round. Sun damage and skin cancer are very real concerns in Denver, the “Mile High City”. Your risk of developing skin cancer is determined by a combination of where you live, who you are and what you like to do.
The American Academy of Dermatology has started to put out PSA videos warning of the risks of Melanoma. Watch this public service announcement from AAD.org, targeted toward men 50 and older.
Learn More about Melanoma Diagnosis and Treatment in Denver by scheduling a consultation at the Asarch Center for Dermatology and Laser at 720-330-3933 or by clicking here.
Dr. Asarch encourages everyone to examine their skin regularly. This means looking over your entire body, including your back, yourscalp, your palms, your soles and between your toes. Using the body mole map below, track any changes or suspicious looking areas. If you notice a mole which looks different from the others, or which changes, itches or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Asarch in Denver or your local a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible.
Signs of melanoma- What you see.
The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- A mole that is growing
- An Unusual looking mole (one that does not look like any other mole on your skin)
- A mole with an uneven border, blurred border, odd shape and different colors
Symptoms of melanoma-What you feel.
In the early stages, melanoma may not cause any symptoms, however, you may develop
Can melanoma be cured?
When detected in the early stages, melanoma is curable. Early detection is essential. In addition to a regular self-examination of the skin, patients with risk factors should have a complete skin examination by a board-certified dermatologist annually.
“Early detection and removal is extremely important to prevent this type of cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. Self skin exams and yearly exams by a dermatologist are important to ensure early detection.”- Denver Dermatologist, Dr. Richard Asarch, MD