Las Vegas Plastic Surgery
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in humans. Melanomas are the most deadly form of skin cancer. Most people have moles in various parts of their body. It is important to check for the development of malignant melanomas in existing moles, and other body sites.
Melanomas are cancerous cells that develop in the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is produced naturally by cells called melanocytes as a defense against the damaging and potentially deadly effects of UV rays. This is why one gets darker, (a “tan”), with excessive sun exposure. Melanin is also the pigment responsible for the color of hair and skin. The more melanin one has, the less likely one is to have a melanoma. Fair skinned people of North European descent are more susceptible to the development of this deadly cancer. Black people can get melanoma, (which can be very aggressive), often on the palms of their hands, soles of their feet, or under their fingernails. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment early increases the rate of survival.
Remember the ABCD’s of melanomas when checking your skin.
A is for asymmetry.
B is for irregular border.
C is for color variations.
D is for diameter, (usually greater than 3 mm, or the size of a pencil eraser). E is for evolution. Moles stay constant, Melanomas change.
It is important to check for the spreading of pigment into the surrounding tissue as well as for itching, hardness, and scaling.
Protect yourself and your children from the damaging UV rays with; sunscreen, dark glasses, hats, and protective clothing. If one suffers one or more severe sunburns as a child or teenager, they are at higher risk. For more information, contact your physician, dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or visit www.melanoma.com.
Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.