The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year.
Did you know Floridians are much more inclined to develop skin cancer because the sun is out the majority of the days within a month? It’s true. At our practice our highly-trained physicians treat many cases of Melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Here are some important things you might want to know about Melanoma.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is most likely caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, or through tanning beds. Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Malignant melanoma is caused by an uncontrolled growth of skin pigment cells (melancytes). The word “melanoma” comes from the Ancient Greek melas meaning “black”, and the Ancient Greek oma meaning “disease, morbidity”. As with other cancers, treatment with Melanoma works best when it is caught early.
Did you know the skin is the largest organ in the body? It does many different things:
- Covers and protects the organs inside the body
- Helps to keep out germs
- Helps keep in water and other fluids
- Helps control body temperature
- Protects the rest of the body from ultraviolet (UV) rays
- Helps the body make vitamin D
Signs of Melanoma
Always examine your body periodically for signs of new moles or growths, or any other marks that may not look normal. Many people today have moles, and it is possible for moles to grow or appear as one ages. If you think you have a rare spot on your skin, examine it using the ABCD method:
- Asymmetry: One half of the mole is different from the other half.
- Border irregularity: The spot has borders which are not smooth and regular but uneven or notched.
- Color: The spot has several colors in an irregular pattern or is a very different color than the rest of your moles.
- Diameter: The spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
Treatments for Melanoma
Surgical removal of the affected skin is the most effective treatment for melanoma. Excision involves removing the entire melanoma along with a border (margin) of normal-appearing skin. More treatment may be needed based on the stage of melanoma.
In 2010, about 68,130 of these were invasive melanomas, with about 38,870 in males and 29,260 in women. Melanoma also kills an estimated 8,790 people in the United States annually.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Henry N. Ho serves as President of The Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery Associates as well as the Medical Director of the Head and Neck Program at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. His practice focuses on all phases of otolaryngology as well as head and neck tumors, sleep apnea, robotic and endoscopic sinus surgeries.