I care about you. That is why I urgently suggest you schedule your skin cancer screening at least once a year.
Unlike other cancers, melanoma can often be seen on the skin, making it easier to detect in its early stages. If left undetected, however, melanoma can spread to distant sites or distant organs. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body (known as stage IV), it is referred to as metastatic melanoma, and is very difficult to treat. In its later stages, melanoma most commonly spreads to the liver, lungs, bones and brain; at this point, the prognosis is very poor.
We know through research that approximately 90% of melanoma cases can be linked to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural or artificial sources, such as sunlight and indoor tanning beds. However, since melanoma can occur in all melanocytes throughout the body, even those that are never exposed to the sun, UV light cannot be solely responsible for a diagnosis, especially mucosal and ocular melanoma cases. Current research points to a combination of family history, genetics and environmental factors that are also to blame.
Using a good sunscreen EVERY DAY is a strong defense, but it is important to see us (or another dermatologist) regularly to screen for this deadly form of skin cancer. Call my office now to schedule a screening for yourself and loved ones.
To read more about melanoma: go to the MELANOMA RESEARCH FOUNDATION.