Although it is less common than other forms of skin cancer, melanoma (also call malignant melanoma) will grow and spread if left untreated, making it the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, when detected early, melanoma is highly treatable.
Melanomas often develop in existing moles, but they can also appear as a new, unusual-looking pigment or growth on the skin. Especially for people who have a high occurrence of moles, regular self-exams are an important part of early detection. Other symptoms of melanoma can include itching, pain, or bleeding.
If anything is detected that looks like it could possibly be melanoma, an appointment with a dermatologist should be scheduled immediately. Again, early detection is crucial to successful treatment.
The clearest cause of melanoma is ultraviolet (UV) rays from direct exposure to sunlight or from tanning beds. UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing them to form abnormal cells that continue to multiply and grow out of control until they form a mass of cancerous cells.
While the exact manner in which this damage takes place and transforms into cancerous cells is not known, there are definite risk factors that increase a person’s chance of forming melanoma:
- Excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps
- A history of sunburn
- Unusual or numerous moles
- Light-colored skin, hair, or eyes
- Living at a high elevation or close to the equator where the sun’s rays are more direct
- A history of melanoma in the family
- A weakened immune system such as those caused by diseases or by organ transplants
While anyone can get melanoma, the risk of getting melanoma increases in people with these characteristics.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis of melanoma begins with a careful examination of the patient’s skin and any suspicious moles or spots, but melanoma cannot be diagnosed accurately without a biopsy, during which a sample or all of the growth is removed and sent to a pathologist to be analyzed.
If melanoma is diagnosed, treatment options will vary depending on the size and stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health. The first step is the removal of the melanoma through surgery. If the cancer has not spread, a small outpatient or office surgery can be sufficient to remove all of the cancerous cells.
When caught early when the melanoma grows only in the outer layer of the skin, these surgeries are highly successful with a cure rate near 100%.
If the melanoma grows deeper and spreads, treatment becomes more aggressive and complex and can involve immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or the removal of the lymph nodes.
by Bruce Robertson
I have been a patient of Dr.Jacobs for over 20 years,,Over that time period he has discovered, treated, and has removed several skin cancers from me. I can clearly state that if it weren’t for him I probably would not be alive today..His staff has always been the most professional and his clinical environment is always immaculate. I would recommend anyone with dermatological issues from psoriasis to melanoma to consult with Dr. Michael Jacobs.
by Carol C
I had the best experience with Dr. Jacobs. Went to see two doctors who misdiagnosed a rash I had on my ankle. Dr. Jacobs identified it within seconds, prescribed a medication and it started to clear up two days later. The staff is wonderful and I would go back anytime.
by Michel Orban
For over 30 years, Dr. Jacobs has treated me. He is cordial, friendly and listens. Most recently, I had a severe case of bedbug bites that I got in Portugal. Literally within minutes of texting him with photos, he corrected the diagnosis I'd been given at a local hospital clinic and told me the medicines I needed. While I saw two doctors in Europe, it was Dr. Jacobs who helped me control my anxiety. For over three weeks, he communicated frequently with me - reconfirming what I was doing was correct and reassuring me the bites would get better, Dr. Jacobs is my go to! He is thoughtful, direct and clear in conveying his diagnosis. I am grateful to him for his care and appreciate all he has done for me over the years.
by Jackie S
I have been a patient of Dr. Jacob's for over a year and although I went for one procedure, I kept coming due to their outstanding and attentive service. Their facility is very clean and the staff is very professional. Their equipment is top of the line. I've had hair removal and lasers done that was totally painless. I highly recommend this facility.
Too Modest to Publicize Himself
by charlotte squarcy
The wonderful work the Doctor did restoring a freshness to my face and neck was enough to convince 5 women pictured in The Social Register to make appointments of their own. Whether socially, for a polished image at work, or for health and wellness to take personal care seriously, this is the doctor to visit. NOT one who sells her services on TV talk shows. This office is not a Botox factory assembly line. When comparing notes, we women agreed that each was treated uniquely as specialized treatments were matched with care and a sure sense of what would be pleasing and successful with each patient. May I note as well that there are quite a number of men in the office seeking treatment as well!. This is a board certified physician who teaches his skills at Cornell. It goes without saying that his professional demeanor causes a patient to trust his judgement.
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