Get to Know Melanoma

There are certain words you don’t want to hear:
“Your mother-in-law is coming over for dinner.”
“Let’s watch all seven Fast & Furious movies back to back.”
“The boss wants to see you, in private.”

“That growth on your face, it’s melanoma.”

Yes, melanoma is the rarest, but most serious, form of skin cancer. It usually appears as a black or brown asymmetrical spot on the neck, back or face, but can occur anywhere on the body and can take many forms.

What’s so dangerous about melanoma?

melanomaUnlike the other forms of skin cancer, basic cell and squamous cell carcinomas that are slow growing and easy to head off, melanomas grow downward and at a certain point they reach the bloodstream and start dumping cancer cells into the blood. From there they can end up anywhere.

Who’s at risk for melanoma?

Anyone can develop melanoma, but certain things make a person more vulnerable:

If you:

• Have fair skin, light eyes, or many freckles
• Were often sunburned as a child
• Have a family history of melanoma
• Have had melanoma before
• Have any abnormal-looking moles or moles that have changed in appearance
• Have more than 50 moles
• Spend or have spent a lot of time in the sun or in tanning beds

Treating melanoma

Dr. Hetzler is an expert at spotting and treating melanoma. Treatment involves surgically removing the cancerous growth, along with some of the surrounding healthy skin. The idea is to test this healthy skin moving away from the melanoma growth until it no longer shows any cancerous cells. There are also advances in treatment, drugs, and surgery so that melanoma surgery with Dr. Hetzler creates less scarring today than it has at any time in the past.

If you notice any growth that seems abnormal or changes shape, call us right away at 732-219-0447.

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