The South Shore’s Most Progressive  & Established Dermatology Practice

Melanoma

Melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, is the most serious form of skin cancer. However, when detected early, melanoma has an excellent cure rate.

Because exposure to ultraviolet radiation (the sun and tanning booths) is a primary risk factor, anyone can develop a melanoma skin cancer.

A family history of melanoma will also greatly increase a person’s risk. The diagnosis of a melanoma is determined by a biopsy.

Who are most at risk?
  • Fair or light skin
  • Blond or red hair
  • Blue, green or hazel eyes
  • Easily burns in the sun
  • Large number of existing moles
  • Family history of melanoma
  • History of sunburns
  • Use of tanning booths
Warning Signs
  • A mole that is changing or growing
  • An odd-shaped mole
  • A mole with different colors
  • Uneven borders on mole
  • Itching, burning or painful moles
  • Looks like a bruise that doesn’t heal
Treatments are determined by information from the biopsy (thickness, depth and character of the melanoma) and a medical evaluation (whether or not it has spread to other areas)

Excision will cut out the skin cancer as well as a small amount of the surrounding tissue known as a margin after the area has been numbed.

Mohs surgery (pronounced “moes”) is a highly specialized and precise surgery that removes the least amount of tissue to eradicate the cancer and preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate for skin cancers. It is an in-office procedure that may take several hours. The surgeon removes the cancer, as well as a very small amount of the surrounding tissue, which is immediately examined under a microscope. These steps are repeated until the cancer is completely eradicated.

Further Evaluation and Treatment may include a consultation with a medical or surgical oncologist. Our dermatologists will follow your care in partnership with you and your consulting physicians throughout the course of your treatment.

Prevention Tips
  • Wear broad spectrum sunscreens with a minimum of SPF 30
  • Avoid exposure to midday sun, especially between 10am-2pm
  • Wear protective clothing including a wide brimmed hat
  • Wear UV protective sunglasses to protect the eyes
  • Avoid tanning and tanning booths
  • Examine your skin monthly
  • See your dermatologist for regular skin checks

ABCDE’s of Melanoma

A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.

B = Border
An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

D = Diameter
Melanomas usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

Images used with permission from the American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved.

The first step is a consultation appointment. Please call 508-747-0711 or request your consultation online today.