Medical Dermatology > Melanoma
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancers. It is the dark moles that everyone worries about, and the one that kills. Melanoma occurs in several different forms, most of which are dark in color.
Most melanomas are related to past sun exposure, but not all. Bad sunburns as a child increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma. We are also realizing the genetic propensity of melanoma. Those with a family history of melanoma should be screened by a dermatologist.
Fortunately, the most common form of melanoma has a 99% cure rate if caught early. This, in itself, is the irony of this feared growth. If caught in its earliest stages treatment can be done to almost ensure you won’t see that melanoma again. It is when these lesions are left to grow longer and deeper into the skin that it quickly spreads to other parts of the body.
The most common recommendation for identifying melanoma is to use the ABCD method:
Asymmetry: one half is a different size than the other
Border irregularity: uneven or notched borders
Color: the mole has multiple colors in an irregular pattern
Diameter: the spot is larger than a pencil eraser