Skin Cancer 

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, it develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color

Skin Cancer 

Malignant Melanoma  

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, it develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color

How do dermatologists diagnose melanoma?

When you see a board-certified dermatologist, your dermatologist will:

  • Examine your skin carefully

  • Ask questions about your health, medications, and symptoms

  • Want to know if melanoma runs in your family

If any spot on your skin look suspicious our dermatologists will numb the area and perform a biopsy, a simple in-office procedure, which a dermatologist can quickly, safely, and easily perform.

Performing a skin biopsy is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have skin cancer.

The tissue that our dermatologist removes will be sent to a lab, where a dermatopathologist, will examine the tissue under a high-powered microscope. The doctor will submit a pathology report which will include:

  • The type of melanoma

  • How deeply the melanoma tumor has grown into the skin

  • How quickly the melanoma cells are growing and dividing

In many cases the pathologist will include the stage of melanoma. 

Stages of melanoma


Stage 0
Melanoma in situ, this is when the cancer only occurs in the top layer of skin.

Stage 1
The cancer is found only in the skin, but the tumor has grown thicker. In stage 1A, the skin covering the melanoma remains intact. In stage 1B, the skin covering the melanoma has broken open.

Stage 2
The melanoma has grown with the thickness ranging from 1.01 mm to greater than 4 mm. it is important to note that the cancer still has not spread to nearby skin.

Stage 3
The melanoma has spread to either:
• One or more nearby lymph node (often called a lymph gland)
• Nearby skin

Stage 4
This is the most advanced stage. It means that the melanoma has spread to one or more parts of the body either an internal organ, a lymph node adjacent to the melanoma; or another skin tissue that is far from where the melanoma was first discovered.

What are the different treatments for melanoma?

 

Surgery: When treating melanoma, doctors strive to remove all the cancer. Because surgery has the best outcome, a patient who has melanoma will often have surgery.

The type of surgical removal you receive depends largely on the type of melanoma you have, where it’s located, and how deeply it goes.

  • Excision: Your dermatologist cuts out the cancerous area along with thin layer of normal-looking skin around it. Removing some normal-looking skin helps to remove stray cancer cells.

    The dermapathologist will look at the normal-looking skin tissue to see whether or not it contains cancer cells. If cells are found in the normal-looking skin tissue, you will need another excision.

     

  • Mohs surgery: If you have melanoma on visible and sensitive areas such as head, neck, or hand, it can be difficult to remove an area of normal-looking skin. In this case, Mohs micrographic surgery maybe the best option. During Mohs surgery, a Mohs surgeon will remove multiple layers of skin in stages to ensure the area is cancer free while removing as little tissue as possible from the treated region.

Other types of treatment for melanoma are:

  • Lymphadenectomy

  • Immunotherapy

  • Targeted therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation therapy

 

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How do dermatologists diagnose melanoma?

When you see a board-certified dermatologist, your dermatologist will:

  • Examine your skin carefully

  • Ask questions about your health, medications, and symptoms

  • Want to know if melanoma runs in your family

If any spot on your skin look suspicious our dermatologists will numb the area and perform a biopsy, a simple in-office procedure, which a dermatologist can quickly, safely, and easily perform.

Performing a skin biopsy is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have skin cancer.

The tissue that our dermatologist removes will be sent to a lab, where a dermatopathologist, will examine the tissue under a high-powered microscope. The doctor will submit a pathology report which will include:

  • The type of melanoma

  • How deeply the melanoma tumor has grown into the skin

  • How quickly the melanoma cells are growing and dividing

In many cases the pathologist will include the stage of melanoma. 

Stages of melanoma


Stage 0
Melanoma in situ, this is when the cancer only occurs in the top layer of skin.

Stage 1
The cancer is found only in the skin, but the tumor has grown thicker. In stage 1A, the skin covering the melanoma remains intact. In stage 1B, the skin covering the melanoma has broken open.

Stage 2
The melanoma has grown with the thickness ranging from 1.01 mm to greater than 4 mm. it is important to note that the cancer still has not spread to nearby skin.

Stage 3
The melanoma has spread to either:
• One or more nearby lymph node (often called a lymph gland)
• Nearby skin

Stage 4
This is the most advanced stage. It means that the melanoma has spread to one or more parts of the body either an internal organ, a lymph node adjacent to the melanoma; or another skin tissue that is far from where the melanoma was first discovered.

What are the different treatments for melanoma?

 

Surgery: When treating melanoma, doctors strive to remove all the cancer. Because surgery has the best outcome, a patient who has melanoma will often have surgery.

The type of surgical removal you receive depends largely on the type of melanoma you have, where it’s located, and how deeply it goes.

  • Excision: Your dermatologist cuts out the cancerous area along with thin layer of normal-looking skin around it. Removing some normal-looking skin helps to remove stray cancer cells.

    The dermapathologist will look at the normal-looking skin tissue to see whether or not it contains cancer cells. If cells are found in the normal-looking skin tissue, you will need another excision.

     

  • Mohs surgery: If you have melanoma on visible and sensitive areas such as head, neck, or hand, it can be difficult to remove an area of normal-looking skin. In this case, Mohs micrographic surgery maybe the best option. During Mohs surgery, a Mohs surgeon will remove multiple layers of skin in stages to ensure the area is cancer free while removing as little tissue as possible from the treated region.

Other types of treatment for melanoma are:

  • Lymphadenectomy

  • Immunotherapy

  • Targeted therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation therapy

 

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Los Angeles, CA 90505

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San Pedro, CA 90732

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