Though melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it's the most dangerous. It's aggressive and if not diagnosed early, it can be fatal. An annual skin examination can help prevent the development of this cancer and is especially important if you or your family have a history of melanoma. During your yearly appointment at OneSkin Dermatology, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rachel Day can be on the lookout for unusual or changing moles and make sure your skin is healthy. Usually, melanomas present as a new or existing mole that looks irregular or changes. Moles that become very dark or black, have irregular borders, get bigger, bleed, or itch can be signs of melanoma.
Melanomas form when melanocytes (pigmented cells located in the epidermis) become malignant. This can happen when skin cells are damaged by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light. This exposure can damage cells at the DNA level, causing them to mutate or multiply quickly, becoming a growth and creating melanoma. It's possible to be genetically predisposed to melanoma, too, and those who are can be especially vulnerable to DNA damage from sun exposure. Most melanomas are visible, which means it's extremely important to get yearly skin exams. You can help prevent the development of melanomas by learning to perform regular mole checks and self-examinations. Call OneSkin Dermatology today to find out how to schedule a skin exam or to get more information on melanoma.
"I was so nervous and self conscious about going to the dermatologist for the first time and both Dr. Day and her staff were amazing! Dr. Day was super kind and easy going and professional which made the visit a wonderful experience. I love how thorough she is and how she takes time to explain information to you to make sure you understand. Highly recommend her for your dermatologic needs!"- H.R. / Google / Jun 26, 2020
"An extremely pleasant and professional office. Dr. Day is just fantastic. The amount of time she spent with me explaining procedures, exams and next steps was very informative. Dr. Day is truly concerned about her patients and their needs. Would highly recommend this office and Dr. Day for all your dermatology needs."- J.B. / Google / Aug 31, 2020
"Dr. Day and her staff were very welcoming, helpful and thorough during my recent first visit. It was so nice to be able to get an appointment within the next day. I love the technology they use such as iPads and a texting feature which allows you to send pictures/messages to the nurses and staff if needed. I had a question after my appointment and Dr. Day personally called me back in regards to my question which truly meant so much as a patient. For a Doctor to take time out of her busy day/schedule to personally return a phone call to a patient isn’t very common these days and it did not go unnoticed. It is very apparent that Dr. Day cares about her patients. Continue to treat with your heart and you will never go wrong! I will definitely be back!"- S.L. / Google / Aug 28, 2020
"Wonderful staff in a beautiful office! Dr. Day took her time listening to me and my daughter, came up with personalized plans and changed it up when it didn’t work for us. We love Dr. Day and her staff!!"- J.A. / Google / Aug 28, 2020
"Dr. Day is truly a one of a kind! You will feel so at ease as soon as you walk in! She is so laid back and easy to have a real conversation with. You won’t be disappointed."- K.D. / Google / Aug 28, 2020
Those at Risk
Melanomas can affect anyone and are generally caused by exposure to the sun and your genetics. If you have a family history of melanoma, especially in a primary relative, such as a parent, child, or sibling, you have an increased risk of developing this malignancy. You also have an increased risk of melanoma if you have:
- Lots of moles on your skin
- Tanned in a tanning bed
- Several large moles
- A history of multiple or severe sunburns
- Blue, green, or gray eyes
- Light-colored or red hair
- Excessive sun exposure (even without a sunburn)
It's important to understand which moles on your skin are at risk of becoming melanoma. Generally, moles at risk are atypical. A melanoma may form if the mole looks "different" than other moles on your skin. Atypical moles can be dark or black, appear suddenly or change, or they may have an irregular border. These moles can usually be removed. It's important to receive ongoing mole checks to help identify and eliminate any potential problems.
It can be hard to spot malignant lesions if you haven't been trained to do so. That's one of the reasons it's so important to get regular skin cancer screenings from a trained, board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Day. At OneSkin Dermatology, we use the ABCDE rule to help our patients learn how to identify the symptoms of melanoma. Here are the elements to watch for that may indicate a spot on your skin is concerning:
- A: Asymmetrical mole (a mole that is not round or oval, or has one side that is bigger than the other)
- B: Borders on the mole (malignant mole typically lack a smooth, clear border)
- C: Color (malignant moles will be either dark or present with several colors throughout the mole)
- D: Diameter (a mole bigger than a pencil eraser may be a sign of malignancy — benign moles stay small)
- E: Evolving (moles that change or grow may be a sign of existing cancer cells)
It's possible for benign moles and freckles to present with some of these signs, but it's best to have all concerning spots examined by a dermatologist.
Dr. Rachel Day, Chambersburg, PA area board-certified dermatologist, specializes in screening and treating patients for skin cancer. She can determine the best treatment for you based on the melanoma's type, stage, and location. At OneSkin Dermatology, Dr. Day will partner with you to identify the appropriate treatment for any concerning or malignant areas on your skin, which usually includes excision with a standard margin. If necessary, Dr. Day will work with cancer specialists to assist with your treatment. Some cases of melanoma may require more diagnostic testing, like a PET or CT scan, lymph node biopsy, or blood work.
Plan Your Service
Schedule a skin check
Because melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, OneSkin Dermatology is dedicated to educating patients about its development. In a skin cancer screening with Dr. Day, your skin will be examined in order to diagnose and treat concerning spots and lesions as early as possible. Dr. Day will teach you the best methods to use to prevent melanoma from developing, like appropriate sun protection for your skin and what to watch for in your moles. If you've recently noticed changes in your moles or other skin lesions, call OneSkin Dermatology today to book an appointment at our Chambersburg, PA office.