Melanomas arise from melanocytes which are the cells in our skin which produce our skin pigment (color). Damage to our DNA in these skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Melanomas look like moles and sometimes develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The treatment for most melanomas involves surgical removal and possibly some additional treatments depending on the characteristics of the individual’s melanoma. Dr. Ibrahimi is a board certified dermatologist that has completed additional fellowship training on the surgical removal of skin cancers, including melanoma. He trained at the country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious melanoma and pigmented lesion center in the nation at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital. If you suspect you might have a melanoma, we recommend you immediately see a board certified dermatologist.
For more education on melanoma, we refer you to these excellent online resources:
For more education on atypical moles, we refer you to these excellent online resources: