Melanoma is the third most common skin cancer in the United States affecting all skin types and continues to increase in incidence every year. Unlike non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma affects younger people. Although the parthenogenesis of melanoma is complicated, the vast majority are thought to be driven by sun exposure.
Melanoma can literally occur anywhere on the body, but legs are more commonly involved for women and the back for men. On average, only 25% of melanomas arise from existing moles while the rest arise from normal skin. Therefore, you are more likely to develop a melanoma from a new mole than a changing one. Since we make few moles after the age of 35, any new mole should be evaluated closely. For pre- existing moles, it is best to follow the ABCDE guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
An estimated 6,850 people are expected to die from Melanoma in 2020 due to its propensity to metastasize and limited treatment options for metastatic disease. Fortunately, 5-year survival rates are 99% when caught early signifying the importance of annual skin checks. Dr. Nash and his professionals utilize dermoscopy to enhance the early detection of melanomas and routinely perform excisions of thin melanomas. For deeper melanomas that require sentinel lymph node biopsy, he refers to The University of Alabama Birmingham for treatment.
- Melanoma can occur in young adults
- Most melanomas are new moles not changing ones
- New moles after the age of 35 should be examined closely