Kenneth Beer MD. PA.
West Palm Beach Office: 1500 North Dixie Highway, 561-655-9055
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General Dermatology

 

Globe Magazine

Dr. Beer featured in Globe Magazine's
"Globe Health Report”

 

Malignant Melanoma

 

 Periodic Self-Examination
Prevention of melanoma/skin cancer is obviously the most desirable weapon against this disease. But if a lesion should develop, it is almost totally curable if caught in the early stages. To aid in early recognition of any new or developing lesion, periodic self-examinations are helpful. The following is a suggested method of self-examination that will ensure that no area of the body is neglected. To perform your self-examination you will need a full length mirror, a hand mirror and a brightly lit room.

 

Malignant Melanoma

 

  • It is projected that this most virulent of all skin cancers develops on the skin of 32,000 Americans annually. And every year an estimated 6,800 Americans will die from melanoma. It is important to note that the death rate is at last declining, because patients are seeking help earlier. Melanoma, like its less aggressive cousins, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, is almost always curable in its early stages.

    Melanoma has its beginnings in melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the dark protective pigment called melanin. It is melanin that is responsible for suntanned skin, acting as partial protection against sun. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, which accounts for the cancers appearing in mixed shades of tan, brown and black. Melanoma has a tendency to spread, making it essential to treat.

    Melanoma may suddenly appear without warning but it may also begin in or near a mole or other dark spot in the skin. For that reason it is important that we know the location and appearance of the moles on our bodies so any change will be noticed.

    Excessive exposure to the sun, as with the other skin cancers, is accepted as a cause of melanoma, especially among light-skinned people. Heredity may play a part, and also atypical moles, which may run in families, can serve as markers, identifying the person as being at higher risk for developing melanoma there or elsewhere in the skin.

    Dark brown or black skin is not a guarantee against melanoma. Black people can develop this cancer, especially on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, under nails, or in the mouth.

    Other warning signs include: changes in the surface of a mole; scaliness, oozing, bleeding or the appearance of a bump or nodule; spread of pigment from the border into surrounding skin; and change in sensation including itchiness, tenderness, or pain.

     

  • How skin cancer is treated
    If a laboratory test reveals that an area of the skin is cancerous, the dermatologist has an array of procedures to choose from, dependent on the needs of the individual patient. In the treatment of any of the skin cancers, early detection and removal is the best defense.

    Fortunately, skin cancers are relatively easy to detect and most can be cured. Even malignant melanoma, if caught in its early stages, can be treated successfully.

    Dermatologist recommend that one helpful way to guard against melanoma/skin cancer is to do periodic self-examinations. Get familiar with your skin and your own pattern of moles, freckles and "beauty marks". Be alert to changes in the number, size, and shape and color of pigmented areas. If any changes are noticed call your dermatologist.

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  • American Academy of Dermatology

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  • 1-888-462-DERM ext. 22

  • American Academy of Dermatology

  • 930 N. Meacham Road

  • P.O.Box 4041

  • Schaumburg, IL 60168-4041

 

Disclaimer: The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.