What is melanoma skin cancer and how may it be treated near Urbana, MD?
The skin is made up of three different layers and various types of cells. In the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin, are cells called melanocytes. It is these cells that produce melanin, the substance that causes the skin to become brown or tanned. Melanin is also protective in nature, providing a buffer between deeper layers of skin and harmful UV rays.
Melanocytes are the cells that are responsible for moles. Additionally, it is the melanocyte in which melanoma skin cancer originates. What differentiates melanoma is that other types of skin canceroriginate from different cells, such as basal cells or squamous cells. In our office near Urbana, MD, we provide the careful evaluation of skin for the earliest possible detection of the various types of skin cancer.
Because melanoma develops from the same cells that produce moles, men and women of all ages are encouraged to become familiar with the various moles on their body. Though it is possible for melanoma to develop in an existing mole, this type of cancer may also occur in a seemingly innocuous area, such as the sole of the foot, palm of the hand, or the nail bed.
Compared to basal and squamous cell carcinomas, melanoma is relatively rare, accounting for far fewer cases each year. That does not ease one’s responsibility of knowing his or her skin well enough to spot abnormal growths. It is important to know that melanoma is a type of skin cancer that, when treated early, has a very good prognosis. In the office of your board-certified dermatologist, you can learn how to perform monthly self examinations. At Washington Dermatology Center, we also use specific instrumentation to examine the skin for cancerous cells.
What if melanoma is identified?
We understand the fear that is associated with the suspicion of melanoma. If a growth looks abnormal, we will take a sampling of skin cells for further evaluation in the medical lab. If lab results return a positive identification of melanoma skin cancer, the next step is to determine the extent of growth, or the stage of skin cancer that is present.
Treatment for melanoma skin cancer will meet specific needs based on stage. For instance, a lower stage melanoma that sits only in a localized are of the epidermis may be removed in a minor surgical procedure. The more advanced melanoma has grown, the greater the extent of treatment. Other health care providers may be included in the successful treatment of skin cancer that has affected nearby lymph nodes or organs.
Skin cancer of any type can be very concerning. The medical team at Washington Dermatology Center provides care in a gentle, accurate manner to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact our office in Rockville or Frederick to schedule a professional skin cancer screening.Back to Skin Cancer Page