Melanoma is a serious and potentially deadly kind of skin cancer, but there is hope. The surgeons at Association of South Bay Surgeons in Torrance, California, check irregular moles, diagnose melanoma, and provide effective treatments like excisional skin biopsy when they're needed.
Melanoma is a type of aggressive skin cancer. This type of cancer comes from cells which produce skin color. The cause of this skin cancer is likely from overexposure to the sun and its powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The damage from overexposure to the sun can lead to moles or skin changes. Not all moles are cancerous, but those with unusual characteristics may indicate melanoma. It is highly recommended to get your skin checked regularly especially if you are under the sun a lot or frequent the tanning salon.
The cause of malignant melanoma is the uncontrolled expansion of the melanocytes, the pigment cells of the skin. Studies suggest that UV radiation is a major contributor to this melanocyte growth. Both sun exposure and tanning beds may cause melanomas. UV radiation damages the DNA within the cells, and this results in mutations in the genes. As the rapid cellular division occurs, those mutations are transmitted to new sets of cells. Soon, the growth rate can be uncontrollable, resulting in tumors.
Usually there are no symptoms associated with melanoma until late stages of the disease.
Only a doctor can diagnose malignant melanomas. A malignant melanoma is typically asymmetrical, has an irregular border, has more than 1 color, and is more than 6 mm in size. Patients should also keep a close watch on wounds as they heal, because slow-healing lesions may indicate melanoma. The doctor performs both a visual exam and another type of skin exam, such as a dermatoscopic exam. Growths that are suspected to be malignant melanomas are typically biopsied.
The treatment of this disease usually requires a team of physicians such as a dermatologist, oncologist, and surgeon. However, once diagnosed with melanoma the only cure is complete resection. This will require a wide resection around the melanoma skin site. Also, melanoma travels from the original location to other locations in the body through lymph nodes. If the melanoma is deep enough on the skin it may be necessary to check and remove several surrounding lymph nodes to see if the melanoma has not spread.
Aside from surgery, other medical treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy may play a supporting role.
This will depend on the location of the melanoma and whether or not lymph nodes will need to be taken. Also at times if the site of the melanoma is on the face or is large a plastic surgeon may be needed for reconstruction.
For the majority of patients with skin melanoma, patients usually return home 2-3 hours after surgery. Select few may require an overnight stay in the hospital depending on if or how many lymph nodes are taken and how large the skin resection is. Most patients have mild surgery incision site pain lasting 3-5 days and usually resume full physical activity within 2-3 weeks.
"The best bedside manner I have ever encountered in a physician. He made a very scary surgery a good experience..."
"An excellent doctor and surgeon with wonderful people skills. She is extremely personable and makes you feel very comfortable..."
"I don't like surgery, but he made me feel comfortable, I really trust him. He was very patient and most Doctors don't understand how important patience is."
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"A very down to earth doctor. I feel that I can trust what he tells me which is also told in such a way that I can understand..."
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"During a very stressful time, the Dr. was thorough and calming. I felt very confident going into surgery that I had made the right decision on the doctor..."
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"A wonderful doctor who is quite knowledgeable in her field of expertise. She has a great bed side manner and has a pleasant, down to earth personality."
"One of the best and most caring doctors, I've ever met. When I come to see the Dr., I know I'm in good hands, and I have complete trust in him..."
"I felt very confident about my decision to plan my surgery with this Physician. I did extensive research on my type of surgery, issues and options..."
"Dr Friedlander is such a great surgeon. She has the perfect combo of being a skilled surgeon and also being a very decent human being. She was totally present to me..."
"Good doctor, and very nice. She is a busy and in-demand surgeon, so even though I've been kept waiting a couple of times, it's been for good reason."
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