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Encouraging Facts About Stage 1 Melanoma

Encouraging Facts About Stage 1 Melanoma

Skin protection isn’t the priority it should be for many people. Your skin, after all, is the body’s largest organ, helping regulate temperature, allowing you to feel, keeping you hydrated, and guarding against bacteria, germs, and other things that cause infection and disease.

Skin cancer happens when an overgrowth of abnormal cells leads to problems, and melanoma is considered its most dangerous form.

The encouraging news is that melanoma can be managed if caught in time. At their three New York City locations, Dr. Javier Zelaya and his experienced medical staff at Skinworks Dermatology urge annual skin cancer screenings as part of an overall health care strategy.

Defining melanoma

Melanocytes are the cells in your skin that make the pigment melanin, creating a tan or brown color in your skin. Melanoma is the result of those cells growing out of control

Like most skin cancers, overexposure to sunlight is the most common cause. While less common than other types of skin cancer (squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma), melanoma is more likely to do more harm because it can spread if untreated.

Melanoma typically starts in the skin and is most commonly found on the necks, faces, chests, and backs of lighter-skinned people. It comes in different forms:

Superficial spreading

The most common melanoma on the skin often starts as a dark spot and grows outward, sometimes changing shape as it gets larger.

Nodular

These raised skin bumps range in color, including pink, red, brown, and black, and tend to grow in deeper layers of skin, making them hard to detect in the early stages.

Lentigo maligna

More common in older people, these abnormally shaped spots develop slowly in areas exposed to a lot of sunlight.

Acral lentiginous

This type is more common in people with darker skin and develops where there’s less sunlight, like under the nails, in the palms of the hand, or on the soles of the feet.

The ABCs of Stage 1 melanoma

The ABCDE method is a helpful way to detect signs that could indicate melanoma:

Detecting melanoma in Stage 1 is early enough that it likely hasn’t spread, generally only affects the upper layers of skin, and can be treated to reduce the risks of further damage.

Treating melanoma

The most significant benefit of catching melanoma early is the treatment options are far less extreme and far more effective. Often, through biopsy or surgery, the cancer is removed as well as a small portion of healthy skin, lowering the chances of a recurrence. 

When caught at this point, it’s likely no further treatment is necessary. So, it’s crucial to look for the signs of melanoma and inform your doctor of any changes in your skin.

Skin cancer is dangerous, and melanoma can be harmful if not treated early. To have the best chance of removing this or other skin cancers, contact Dr. Zelaya at Skinworks Dermatology today. Call the office in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope, or request your appointment online.

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