Malignant Melanoma: What’s Your Excuse for Not Getting Your Annual Skin Cancer Body Check?

When you hear that someone died suddenly due to skin cancer, the cancer is most likely a melanoma.   This malignant killer can be 100% cured if discovered early.  Melanoma deaths account for 2-3% of all cancer-related deaths.  According to the American Cancer Society, of the 60,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed annually, 8,000- 10,000 cases could prove fatal.

Melanomas usually begin as a dark brown or black mole.  Because this cancer is highly treatable if discovered early,   any suspicious new spot or a CHANGING mole should be examined immediately.  A dermatology specialist is trained and has the experience to diagnose a malignant lesion early enough to obtain a cure in case the diagnosis is melanoma.  The rule is to take a simple biopsy if there is any question, your life could be in the balance.

Melanoma is a subject near and dear to Dr. Griffin’s heart:  he identified a changing mole on his own shoulder which had no dark color.  The mole was biopsied and was positive for melanoma.  It was promptly removed with appropriate borders.  Luckily it had not spread wide or deep and resulted in a 100% cure rate.  Dr. Griffin’s daughter, who was only 20 years old at the time, also had a changing mole removed that proved to be an early stage melanoma.  Luckily it was removed early enough to be considered 100% cured.  If a family member has had a malignant melanoma, you are more likely to have one also.  Examine your own skin as a start: look for changing moles, new growth, pigmented (and unpigmented) areas.  See the expert early and demand a biopsy for any suspicious growth.  You must take a role in saving your own life.

According to the 1996 study published by Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Goldstein et al, 1996), patients exhibiting more than 75 moles, a family history of melanoma, as well as recessive genetic traits like fair skin and light eyes are at 3-times a greater risk of developing the cancer than those who don’t.  Schedule your annual skin cancer body check today, especially if you fit the criteria mentioned above, with one of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s skin specialists.

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