Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer, in which there is uncontrolled growth of melanocytes (pigment cells). Melanoma is sometimes called malignant melanoma. Non cancerous growth of melanocytes results in moles and freckles (ephelides and lentigines). The cancerous growth of melanocytes results in melanoma. Melanoma can arise from otherwise normal-appearing skin (about 75% of melanomas) or from within a mole, which starts to grow larger and change in appearance.
Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body, not only in areas that get a lot of sun. The first sign of a melanoma is usually an unusual looking freckle or mole. A melanoma may have a variety of colors including tan, dark brown, black, blue, red and, occasionally, light grey or are
lacking pigment (amelanotic melanoma). Some melanomas are itchy or tender. More advanced lesions may bleed easily or scab over.
We recommend to monitor your moles with the ABCDEs of Melanoma:
A – Asymmetry – look for moles whose size, shape, or color vary from one side to the other
B – Border irregularity – be wary of irregular or ill-defined borders
C – Color variation – particularly varied colors within the same mole or sections that are red, white, gray, or blue
D – Diameter – While melanomas can be of various sized, larger lesions over 6 mm should be monitored closely
E – Evolving – Any lesion that is evolving over time should be checked
Melanoma is thought to begin as an uncontrolled growth of melanocytic stem cells that have undergone a transformation, either caused by sun exposure, genetically, or both.
Treatment of melanoma depends on the stage or thickness of the melanoma. A wide local excision is the treatment of choice for primary, thinner melanomas; deeper melanomas may require a sentinel lymph node biopsy in conjunction with other treatments.
Please call our office at 704-784-5901 if you notice any of the above signs or symptoms.