It is important to recognize the potential signs of melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. This is an essential step for early detection and treatment of melanoma and other types of skin cancer. In this video, Dr. Anna Pavlick explains how to look for signs of melanoma, and when you should be checked out by a dermatologist. Dr. Pavlick is an oncologist and melanoma specialist at the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center.
When a doctor is looking at melanomas, he or she does not measure the size of the melanoma in width. Instead, melanomas are measured in depth. If you suddenly notice any new skin lesions that you were not previously aware of, you should have them checked out by a dermatologist. If you have an existing mole that starts to change, grow, itch or bleed, this should also be addressed by a dermatologist. When it comes to detecting and treating melanoma, a dermatologist is the front line of defense. A dermatologist is the doctor who will know the signs of melanoma to watch out for. A dermatologist has the ability to examine all the areas of your body that you wouldn’t think to check and that you would not be able to look. A dermatologist will also be able to dictate the frequency at which a patient should be seen. For example, if a patient has minimal moles and skin that is in good condition, he or she may only need to be seen every six months. For some patients with more moles, the frequency of dermatologist visits may be every three months.
When melanoma is detected at an early stage, it is very curable. However, the deeper a melanoma grows into the skin before it is removed, the higher the chances it will spread to other parts of the body.