Melanoma Experts in Los Angeles, CA
Melanoma can be an alarming word. Practically anyone can be affected, as exposure to UVA and UVB rays are a major contributing factor, along with genetics and the presence of moles. Melanoma is known for spreading to other parts of the body, where it can become increasingly deadly. When detected and treated early, though, the prognosis is excellent. That’s why it’s so important for you to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
At The Surgery Group of Los Angeles, we’re proud to have Dr. Joshua D.I. Ellenhorn as part of our surgical oncology team. Dr. Ellenhorn is one of the most respected surgical oncologists in the U.S; in fact, he’s ranked in the top 1% of surgeons in the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions About Melanoma
Where does melanoma usually start?
The areas most likely to be affected are the upper back, the torso (for men), and the legs (for women). However, melanoma can show up anywhere. Rarer types of melanoma can be present on the palms, between the toes, on the scalp, in the eyes, and even in the mucous membranes.
What symptoms should I be aware of?
Remember your ABCDEs:
- Asymmetry: If you were to fold a mole in half or draw a line through the center, would the halves match one another? Asymmetry can be a sign of melanoma.
- Border: Generally, benign moles have a smooth, round border. Be on the lookout for a bumpy, scalloped, or oddly shaped border.
- Color: Melanomas are often black or brown; however, a mole with varied colors – white, tan, brown, black, pink, purple, even colorless – can be a sign of melanoma.
- Diameter: At the time of diagnosis, most melanomas are roughly the size of a pencil eraser or larger. Be aware, though, that melanomas can be any size.
- Evolution: Watch out for a mole that changes in shape, size, or color, or that looks different from other moles.
If you notice any of these symptoms, please call us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
What are the four types of melanoma?
- Acral lentiginous melanoma is incredibly rare and is found on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, under the finger or toenails, between the fingers and toes, or on the scalp. It usually affects people with deeper skin tones.
- Lentigo maligna usually shows up on the face and neck of older people who’ve endured a lifetime of sun exposure. First appearing as a large freckle or stain on the skin, it often spreads slowly and superficially.
- Nodular melanoma is commonly found on the head, neck, back, and chest. It grows quickly and often fades in color; nodular melanoma is more likely to be red than black. By the time nodular melanoma is diagnosed, it is usually already malignant. This is the second most common type of melanoma and accounts for 10-15% of cases. Nodular melanoma is the most aggressive type of melanoma.
- Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma and accounts for around 70% of cases. It initially grows slowly along the top layer of skin, but can spread throughout the body. Superficial spreading melanoma is most frequently found on the arms, back, chest, and legs, but can occur anywhere.
Is melanoma deadly?
It can be. Once it has spread to other organs or parts of the body, melanoma can be incredibly dangerous. When detected early, though, melanoma is highly treatable and almost always curable.
What are my treatment options?
Your doctor will be able to create a specialized treatment plan unique to you; however, we can provide an overview of common practices. The primary treatment option is almost always removal of the melanoma.
First, your doctor will obtain a biopsy of the suspected melanoma. Based on the results, they will decide on the best method for removal.
- Wide excision: As the name indicates, this is the removal or excision of the melanoma through a minor procedure.
- Lymph node surgery: Removal of a lymph node in a procedure called a sentinel lymph node biopsy is important for any melanoma that is thick. Removal of multiple lymph nodes in a procedure called a lymph node dissection may be required if melanoma has spread to lymph nodes.
- Immunotherapy: When melanoma has spread, treatments that harness the bodies own immune system can be used to direct it to fight the melanoma.
- Radiation therapy: Occasionally radiation therapy to help improve the outcome of
Melanoma Treatment and Surgery
As you can see from the frequently asked questions above, early detection and quick surgery for removal are incredibly important in ensuring a good prognosis when it comes to melanoma. If you have a mole or mark of concern or have been diagnosed with melanoma, please call The Surgery Group of Los Angeles as soon as possible to schedule your evaluation.
Learn more or call (424) 303-4949 to schedule your consultation!