About Melanoma

As one of the more severe forms of skin cancer, melanoma often spreads to other parts of your body if you don’t detect the initial lesion early enough. The board-certified dermatologists at Southwest Michigan Dermatology in Portage, Michigan, are available to give you routine skin exams or to examine any moles or lesions that change or look unusual. Call Southwest Michigan Dermatology or request an appointment online for melanoma diagnosis and treatment today. 

Melanoma Q & A

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is one of the more severe types of skin cancer. It originates in melanocytes, which are the cells that produce your skin’s pigment called melanin.

Just like other types of skin cancer, melanoma tends to arise from ultraviolet (UV) light damage to your cells. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of melanoma so you can detect it early and treat it before it spreads. 

Melanoma can show up as a new pigmented growth or mark on your skin or affect a mole you already have. You should keep track of all your moles and birthmarks so you can detect changes in their shapes or sizes. 

Am I at risk for melanoma?

Melanoma can affect anyone, and you should know the signs even if most risk factors don’t apply to you. Your risk for melanoma may be increased because of:

  • Severe sunburns in the past
  • Lots of time spent in the sun
  • Naturally fair skin
  • A weak immune system
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Having many moles
  • Living at a high elevation

While melanoma isn’t always preventable, you can lower your risk by using sunscreen daily and avoiding tanning beds and other artificial UV light sources. 

How is melanoma treated?

Treatment for melanoma is most straightforward when the cancer hasn’t yet spread beyond your skin. The team at Southwest Michigan Dermatology examines the cancerous lesion, takes a biopsy, and determines the stage of the cancer before recommending treatment. 

If your melanoma is small and hasn’t spread, a simple removal procedure may be all the treatment you need. Sometimes, the entire lesion can be removed as part of the biopsy. During an excision procedure, your surgeon removes the cancerous lesion along with a small margin of healthy skin around it. 

If the melanoma has spread to other parts of your body the team at Southwest Michigan Dermatology will work with you to set up the best treatment plan for you.

To learn more about melanoma and its treatments, call Southwest Michigan Dermatology or request an appointment online today.