Melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer. This type of cancer is more likely to affect the surrounding tissues and spread to other body areas in comparison to other types of skin cancer.
Factors such as sunlight exposure, unusual moles, and medical history can impact the risk of melanoma.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by the dedicated board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides proven and effective skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and other towns and suburbs in this section of the state.
Tests that assess the skin are used to detect and diagnose melanoma
In case a mole or pigmented region of the skin changes or appears abnormal, the following dermatology procedures and tests can assist in finding and diagnosing the melanoma:
- Skin exam: A doctor or nurse examines the skin for birthmarks, moles or other pigmented regions that appear abnormal in shape, size, texture, or color.
- Biopsy: This is a procedure to excise abnormal tissue as well as a small amount of normal tissue surrounding it. A pathologist will examine the tissue using a microscope to check for the presence of cancer cells. It can be challenging to differentiate between a colored mole and an early stage melanoma lesion. Patients may also consider having the sample evaluated by a second pathologist. In case the abnormal mole or lesion is malignant, the sample of tissue may also undergo testing to check for specific gene changes.
It is vital that the abnormal skin areas are not cauterized (destructed with an electric current, hot instrument, or a caustic substance) or shaved off as the cancer cells that remain may proliferate.
The treatment of melanoma involves various options, such as:
The five standard options for the treatment of melanoma are:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- New treatment types being assessed in clinical trials.
- Vaccine therapy
- Melanoma treatment may lead to side effects.
- Patients may consider participating in a clinical trial.
- Patients can participate in clinical trials before, during, or following their cancer treatment.
- The patient may require follow-up tests.
Different Treatment Options for Melanoma Patients
Various types of treatment options are available for melanoma patients. Some treatments are presently in use (standard) while others are being tested in clinical trials.
Surgery to excise the tumor is the primary treatment of all melanoma stages. The surgeon uses a wide local excision to remove the melanoma and a margin of healthy tissue surrounding it. The surgeon may use a skin graft (skin taken from another body part to replace the excised skin) may be done to cover the wound created by the surgery.
When the melanoma removal is complete, the patient may undergo chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Treating the patient with chemotherapy after the surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer recurring is known as adjuvant therapy. Removing cancer that has spread to the lung, lymph nodes, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or brain can improve the quality of the patient’s life.
The focused Dr. Ewanowski’s skin care clinic is equipped to provide advanced medical and aesthetic skin care solutions to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and other suburbs and towns in this part of the US.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.