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Melanoma is the rarest and most deadly type of skin cancer, comprising of under 5% of all skin cancer cases but accounting for the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. Like the other two types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, UV exposure is a risk factor for developing melanoma, and it’s also more common among people with a history of the cancer and among people who have a lot of moles (nevi), especially moles that have an unusual appearance (dysplastic nevi). Regular skin cancer screenings are critically important for diagnosing any type of skin cancer as early as possible.
Skin cancer screenings are completely noninvasive, painless, fast evaluations of the skin on the entire body, including areas between the toes, on the head and areas normally covered by clothing. During the exam, the dermatologist looks for any abnormal areas of tissue, including moles that appear unusual, rough or dark patches of skin, and other unusual signs that could be caused by cancerous changes in the skin cells. If an abnormal or suspicious area is found, a tiny sample of skin cells will be removed for further evaluation in a lab. The sampling is called a biopsy, and it can be performed in different ways right in the office using a local anesthetic to numb the skin.
That depends on your risk factors for skin cancer. Generally, patients with a family history of skin cancers, people with a large number of moles and those with numerous scaly patches called actinic keratoses need to be screened more frequently to look for signs of skin cancer. Your initial screening appointment will enable us to determine how frequently subsequent screenings should be performed.
That depends on the type of skin cancer and other factors. At Brevard Medical Dermatology, we offer treatment options for all types of skin cancer. When a specialty service like chemotherapy or Mohs micrographic surgery is warranted, we can provide the appropriate referrals to ensure patients continue to receive excellent care.