Melanoma is one of the most serious types of skin cancer because of its likelihood of spreading. At the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, with three locations in Houston, Texas, and a fourth in Katy, Texas, the team of oncology experts diagnoses and treats melanoma at any stage. To set up a screening or assessment, call the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, or request an appointment online today.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the pigment-producing cells within your skin, which are called melanocytes. They give your skin its natural tone and are concentrated in your moles and birthmarks.
There are a few different types of melanoma, and some affect areas like your eyes, mouth, or vaginal canal. Almost all of them come from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure or UV tanning beds, though there are other risk factors, too.
Fortunately, knowing what melanoma can look like helps you detect early signs and get a diagnosis when the cancer is easiest to treat.
Melanoma can develop either on an existing mole or lesion or in an entirely new area. You should become familiar with the moles and marks on your body so you can detect any changes that happen to their appearances.
You should keep the acronym ‘ABCDE’ in mind while assessing new or pre-existing moles for signs of skin cancers like melanoma:
Since the characteristics of melanoma vary a lot, keeping these features and possible changes in mind can help you detect a lesion. If you have a particularly high risk for developing melanoma or other types of skin cancer, you should get regular screenings from a physician.
There is also a genetic test available at Houston Cancer Institute, PA, to assess your risk for melanoma.
As one of the more likely types of skin cancers to spread, melanoma often requires more intensive or systemic treatment than excision alone. The team at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, can go over your treatment options with you and help you decide on one that aligns with your personal needs and preferences.
When it comes to treating melanoma that has metastasized, your options for treatment include:
Melanoma surgery involves the excision of the cancer as well as some of the surrounding tissue to help prevent the cancer from spreading. Skin grafting may also be performed to replace any damaged or excised skin surrounding the area.
Immunotherapy helps boost your immune system’s natural ability to detect cancerous cells. It works by targeting proteins on melanoma cells and making them visible to your immune system mechanisms.
Chemotherapy is an infusion service available on an outpatient basis at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA. While immunotherapy is usually a priority option for systemic skin cancer treatment, chemotherapy can also effectively destroy cancerous cells.
Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other high-powered beams of energy to kill cancerous cells and tumors.
Targeted therapy uses specific drugs to kill cancers according to their weaknesses.
To determine the best treatment for your cancer, the team at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, stages your cancer using state-of-the-art Cat Scan or PET/CT imaging.
The scans show how large the tumor is, how deeply it extends , and whether it's spread to other areas. This will help our team at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA identify what stage of cancer you have and tailor your treatment plan to that stage for optimal outcomes and recovery.
If you see a new or changing spot or lesion on your skin, don’t hesitate to make a skin cancer evaluation appointment. Call the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, or request an appointment online today.