MELANOMA

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.  One out of ever 54 Americans is expected to develop a melanoma, and this is the form of skin cancer than can be potentially lethal.  Melanoma in Houston is a particular concern because of the degree of sun exposure we get on a daily basis.

Melanoma develops when DNA damage happens to skin cells, most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from outdoor sunshine or from indoor tanning beds.  The DNA damage allows the skin cells to multiply rapidly and result in malignant tumors.  The good news is that if melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable.  Unfortunately, if it is not caught early, or if it is a particularly aggressive form, it can advance and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.  If this happens, it becomes difficult to treat and potentially fatal.  Schedule your skin cancer screening today, and have your loved ones do the same.

Melanoma arises from the cells that make pigment in your skin - the melanocytes.  These cells make pigment, the brown-black color that determines the color of the skin, hair, and eyes in all people.  Pigment also helps to guard against the damaging effects of the sun.  When melanocytes are damaged by UV radiation, they can transform into the rapidly dividing cells that make melanoma.  Melanoma will often look like a mole, and it can often arise from a pre-existing mole.  The best defense against melanoma is sun protection and regular skin cancer screenings.