Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is considered one of the deadliest of all cancers. Fortunately, if it is detected and treated early, melanoma is now considered highly curable. About 120,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year.
Though melanoma can affect anyone and can be found on any part of the body (including areas rarely exposed to the sun, such as between the toes or fingers), it is most commonly found on areas that get lots of sun. People with fair skin, a family history of cancer or melanoma, a personal history of skin cancer, or who have more than 100 moles (brown spots, pigmented areas) are considered at high risk for melanoma.
Warning Signs of Melanoma
Most moles are not cancerous but it pays to be aware of the warning signs of melanoma. These are:
- (A) Asymmetry: If you draw a line through the mole, the two sides don't match
- (B) Borders: Uneven borders are a sign of concern
- (C) Colors: The more colors (or even varying shades of one color) you can see in a mole, the higher the likelihood that it is a melanoma
- (D) Diameter: Moles larger than a quarter inch are more likely to be cancerous than smaller ones
- (E) Evolving: Moles that change in size, shape or color should be evaluated
The Hunt Cancer Institute physicians have extensive experience treating melanoma. Treatment options for melanoma vary depending on the stage of the disease. Melanoma treatment may include: