An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70 according to the National Skin Cancer Foundation. At Skinworks Dermatology located in Maspeth, Chelsea, and South Slope, Brooklyn, board-certified dermatologist and internist Javier Zelaya, MD, is highly knowledgeable about the dangers of skin cancer and provides valuable education, comprehensive screenings, and effective treatments and solutions. An annual skin cancer screening should always be an integral part of your preventive health care; it can help Dr. Zelaya to identify any signs early on. If you’re due for a screening or have concerns about your skin health, call the Skinworks Dermatology office or book an appointment online today.
Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that can occur anywhere on your body on normal skin or in a mole that will turn cancerous over time.
Melanoma develops in the melanocytes cells that produce the melanin (pigment) that gives your skin its color. Melanoma can also form in your eyes and, in rare instances, in internal organs like your intestines.
Melanoma usually appears on the sun-exposed areas of your body and on your face, torso, or lower legs. Melanoma commonly shows up as a mole that changes in size or color, bleeds, or appears as a large spot that’s brownish with darker speckles.
Melanoma can show up in a small lesion that has an unusual-looking outline and different color patterns, such as bluish-black, red, blue, or white.
To identify melanoma, it’s helpful to remember ABCDE — A for asymmetrical shape, B for irregular border, C for changes in color, D for changes and growth in diameter, and E for evolving and changing moles, signs, and symptoms over time.
Melanoma occurs when there’s DNA damage in the melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) that causes a mass of cancerous cells to gradually grow out of control. It isn’t exactly clear what causes this DNA damage, but environmental and genetic factors might play a role.
Some of the risk factors for melanoma include:
The primary risk factor for melanoma is having a family history of skin cancer.
After the appropriate testing, screening, and biopsy, Dr. Javier Zelaya can help you determine the best way to treat your melanoma. Melanoma in the early stages might just require a procedure to remove it. This might include removing the cancer, as well as a border of normal skin and a layer of tissue under the skin of the affected area.
More advanced stages of melanoma might warrant other treatment methods, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, or surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes.
Dr. Zelaya can give referrals when necessary and remains a valuable part of your medical support team during your skin cancer treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about melanoma and skin cancer, call the Skinworks Dermatology office or schedule an appointment online today.