Melanoma is a skin cancer of the pigment cells of the skin, called melanocytes. It is projected that 132,000 Americans will develop melanoma in the next year and 8,600 will die from melanoma. Like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma is curable, but only if detected early. Any mole that is new, changing, or symptomatic should be evaluated by a dermatologist. The ABCDE system was developed to help detect warning signs of a melanoma:
- Asymmetry: if you cut a mole in half, the two halves are different
- Border: The borders of a melanoma are often scalloped or jagged
- Color: A variety of colors is a warning sign
- Diameter: Any mole larger than a pencil eraser
- Evolving: Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation or symptoms such as itching or tenderness
Dr. Seward, Dr. Grattan, and Dr. LaRocque are experts in the prevention, detection, and treatment of skin cancer. They recommend a yearly skin cancer screening for most patients and more frequent skin examinations for those patients with risk factors or a history of skin cancer.
Visit our patient education library to learn more about melanoma