What is melanoma?
Melanomas are malignant swellings of the skin that cause skin cancer. They often form out of pre-existing skin spots such as birthmarks and freckles, but sometimes they appear out of nowhere. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, especially sunlight, can trigger the conversion of a benign spot into malignant melanoma.
What does melanoma look like?
Melanoma looks like a dark brown/black lump that bleeds easily when it is scratched. It is usually an elevated bump on the skin. The dark discoloration also typically runs further into the skin outside the melanoma spot and often there are several smaller lesions around the central tumor (also called satellite lesions). A spot is suspicious and may be a case of melanoma when it increases in size in a short time, changes color, and/or when brown spots appear around it. If you have a suspicious mark on your skin and suspect melanoma, do no hesitate to consult one of our highly experienced Brooklyn Heights dermatologists to diagnose the spot and look for an effective melanoma treatment.
A melanoma diagnosis cannot be determined merely by looking at the skin spot in question. Dermatologists often take a picture of the spot and note the dimensions. Sometimes the physician will advise to wait 6 months and see if it has become bigger and whether the color has changed. In more troubling cases, the lesion, or a small piece of it, will be removed and sent to the lab for further investigation. When the doctor or a specialized dermatologist has determined a melanoma diagnosis, it is important to start with the treatment or surgery as soon as possible.
Melanoma treatment by top Brooklyn Heights dermatologists
If the microscopic examination indicates a melanoma diagnosis then you will be referred to a surgeon or specialized dermatologist. During the melanoma surgery, the suspicious spot will be cut out along with the surrounding skin. For superficial melanomas, the cut around the lesion usually reaches up to 1 cm. However, with larger and deeper lesions the cut can reach up to 5 cm around the original lesion. Typically the closest lymph node to which the melanoma could spread (the sentinel gland) will also be removed and examined for malignancy. After the surgery, regular check-ups are necessary to monitor the skin and ensure it stays healthy and no melanoma spots reappear. The lymph nodes will be monitored extra carefully as well. It is important to remember that effective melanoma treatment is possible and the earlier you book a consultation with one of our highly trained and specialized Brooklyn Heights dermatologists, the better.
Melanoma diagnosis and treatment in Brooklyn Heights
For more information about melanoma diagnosis and treatment, fill out the form below or call us at 718-857-7070 to schedule your consultation with one of our expert Brooklyn Heights dermatologists. We will provide more information at our practice in Brooklyn Heights, New York.