Melanoma isn’t a common form of skin cancer, but it is the most serious. More than 100,000 cases affect adults in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society, and that number has been increasing. And while it can develop at any age, the average age of diagnosis is 65.
Prompt treatment for melanoma is very important for ensuring your best possible prognosis, including preventing death from the disease.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer experts specialize in diagnosing and treating melanoma using advanced technology. In this blog, Dr. Hendi explains what melanoma is and how it’s treated.
Melanoma develops when cells that cause your skin to tan, known as melanocytes, grow uncontrollably. One reason it’s more dangerous than other types of skin cancer is its high likelihood of spreading to other parts of your body over time.
The most important sign to look out for is a new spot on your skin or a mole that’s changing in color, shape, or size. Other signs include a sore that won’t heal, a mole with a scaly surface, a bleeding or oozing mole, and pigment that extends from the border of a spot to nearby skin.
While melanomas can grow anywhere on the skin, they often appear on the back, chest, legs, neck, or face. Factors that increase your risk for developing melanoma include having:
At Ali Hendi, MD, our skin cancer experts customize melanoma treatment plans based on certain factors, such as the cancer stage and your overall health. If your melanoma is detected early, you may only need surgery to remove it. For later stage melanoma, you may need surgery as well as another form of treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
Our team is the only one in the Washington, DC, area with the advanced laboratory techniques and experience to perform Mohs surgery to treat melanoma. For early stage melanoma, this procedure yields a success rate of up to 99%.
During this procedure, Dr. Hendi removes a thin layer of skin and examines it under a microscope to look for signs of cancer. If cancer is present, he removes another thin layer. He keeps doing this until no signs of cancer remain. With this specialized surgery, Dr. Hendi is able to remove the cancer and, at the same time, leave as much healthy tissue as possible.
Once your treatment is complete, you’ll want to stay in touch with our team for ongoing skin cancer surveillance. This is because more than 6% of melanoma cases return after 10 years.
To learn more about melanoma or to get the treatment you need, call 301-259-5710 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.