Malignant Melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. It usually presents as a new or existing mole that changes. The incidence of melanoma has increased in recent years. A person’s risk of developing melanoma depends on genetics and sun exposure and tanning bed history. Regular dermatology visits and monthly self-skin examinations can increase early detection and increase survival. A popular, well known method uses the ABCD rule for recognizing the signs and symptoms of melanoma. A= Asymmetry B= Border, irregular C= Color, multiple colors or darker color D= Diameter, moles greater than 6mm (pencil eraser) are at increased risk E= Evolving, any lesion that is changing or has symptoms (itching, redness, scabbing) should be evaluated. There are different types of melanoma. Their risk is based a number of factors which include the tumor depth, presence of ulceration, and the number and extent of regional lymph nodes affected. Standard treatment is surgery to remove the tumor and a large surrounding area of skin. If the melanoma is advanced, surgery may be followed by immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination. Treatment chosen depends on the type of melanoma, its depth in the skin, and other factors. Full body skin examinations with your dermatology provider is recommended every 3 months for 2 years following diagnosis, then every 6 months for 3 years, and then at least yearly for your lifetime.

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