Posted by Dr. Shareef Jandali
Melanoma is more common than most people think. Melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in the United States and the number one cancer in young adults aged 25-29. Melanoma can be a deadly disease and early detection and surgical treatment is of utmost importance. The risk of dying from melanoma is directly related to the depth of the melanoma, which is related to the amount of time that it has been growing. However, one cannot tell the depth of the melanoma just by looking at it. The only way to tell how deep a melanoma has grown is with a biopsy performed by your dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Patient often detect their own melanomas when they see a new mole develop or have a mole change after being the same for years or decades. The best screening tips for melanoma are below.
A: Asymmetry - if you draw a line through the middle of the mole and the two halves don't match
B: Border - irregular or uneven borders on a mole
C: Color - very dark mole or having a variety of colors within a mole
D: Diameter - mole larger than 6 mm (size of pencil eraser)
E: Evolving - any change in size/color/shape of a mole, or if the mole starts to itch/bleed/crust
If any of these are present in a mole, you should be screened by your dermatologist or plastic surgeon for possible melanoma, which will need a biopsy.
The best treatment for melanoma is early surgical removal by a surgeon. This stops the melanoma from growing any deeper. Sometimes the lymph nodes are sampled with a procedure called a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which helps with melanoma staging.
Dr. Shareef Jandali is one of the co-founders of the Melanoma Center at Bridgeport Hospital, part of the Yale New Haven Health System. The Melanoma Center is a multidisciplinary group of physicians providing cutting edge melanoma care including surgery, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
If you have a suspicious mole that needs to be biopsied, or if you have already been diagnosed with a melanoma, call to set up an appointment with Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shareef Jandali at his Fairfield County, Connecticut office. Call 203-374-0310 to set up an appointment. We look forward to caring for you.