The most dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma, affects over 100,000 people in the United States per year. At ERderm in Newport Beach, California, dermatologists Edward Rohaly, MD, and Samuel Peterson, MD, FACMS, FAAD, regularly diagnose and treat melanoma using some of the latest and most progressive treatments available. ERderm is one of the key providers in Orange County of the ALVAC-MART-1 vaccine for melanoma treatment. For additional information or to book a screening, call ERderm, or request an appointment online today.
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, develops within the cells called melanocytes that produce the skin’s pigment. While it’s the most serious variety, it’s also the least common compared to other types like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Melanoma is more concerning than the other types of skin cancer because of its higher likelihood of spreading to organs other than your skin. It also spreads more rapidly. However, if you find melanoma early and start treatment right away, you do have a chance of recovery.
Like other forms of skin cancer, melanoma starts when ultraviolet (UV) rays, usually from the sun but also from artificial tanning, damage the DNA within the cells. That causes them to grow uncontrollably, and they can eventually spread deeper into the skin and later into other areas of your body via the lymphatic system.
You’re more likely than others to get melanoma if you have naturally fair skin, but anyone can get it. While it more commonly forms in areas of skin that see a lot of sun, it can form anywhere, and you should check your body regularly for unusual lesions.
Only 20-30% of melanoma affects pre-existing moles, while the other 70-80% appear in areas of skin that were clear before. You should monitor your moles for unusual changes in size, shape, and elevation regularly. Moles that stand out among others because they look different are also a cause for concern.
Generally, you should report any new mole or lesion that appears on your body. Even if you don’t notice any new moles, the team at ERderm might recommend coming in for a skin cancer screening if your risk for melanoma is high. You should also look over your own body regularly for new or changing lesions.
Melanoma is treatable, and you’re much more likely to make a recovery if the cancer has not yet spread. To evaluate your lesion for melanoma, the team at ERderm may perform a biopsy and test the sample in a lab.
MART1 is a protein marker that indicates melanoma within a cell. ERderm is a key provider in the area of ALVAC-MART-1, a vaccine that uses the protein to reduce the spread of melanoma and can destroy melanoma cells.
Other treatments that the team might recommend are:
The extent of your treatment and the specific procedures you need depend on if and how much your melanoma has spread at the time of your diagnosis.
If you have concerns about your risk for melanoma, or if you’d like an evaluation for a lesion, call ERderm, or request an appointment online today.