Melanoma Specialist

Melanoma may not be the most common form of skin cancer, but it is the most dangerous: When it’s left to grow, Melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of your body, including your internal organs. In 2013, almost 72,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanoma, and that same year, just under 10,000 people died from the disease. Luckily, melanomas that are caught early are highly treatable. That’s why the dermatologists at Easton Dermatology Associates in Easton, Maryland, are dedicated to providing comprehensive melanoma skin cancer care, including screening, diagnosis, and treatment, to patients on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Melanoma Q & A

What causes melanoma?

Although melanoma often appears suddenly and without warning, it may also evolve from an existing mole. It’s caused by unrepaired DNA damage usually resulting from exposure to ultraviolet light, either from the sun or from a tanning bed. This triggers mutations, or genetic defects in your skin cells, that lead them to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Left untreated, melanoma can spread to your lymph nodes and your internal organs, making it much more difficult to treat successfully.

Even though anyone can develop melanoma, certain factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Using indoor tanning beds
  • Failing to protect your skin from sun exposure
  • Having sun-sensitive skin or skin that burns easily
  • Having five or more blistering sunburns in your late teens
  • Living in a sunny area or closer to the equator
  • Having fair skin, red or blond hair, or blue or green eyes
  • Having large moles or more than 50 moles

How is melanoma diagnosed?

Melanoma diagnosis begins with a careful, comprehensive skin examination, usually involving a device that lights and magnifies the skin for better viewing. Your doctor will be looking for the ABCDEs of atypical moles, which are the common signs of a melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One-half of the mole doesn’t match the other
  • Border: It has irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined borders
  • Color: A mole that has color variations, including shades of tan, brown, black, white, red, or blue
  • Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolution: A mole that has changed in size, color, or shape

If they spot something suspicious, your dermatologist will remove some or all of it so it can be biopsied in a lab. Melanoma cannot be diagnosed without a biopsy.

How is melanoma treated?

Treatment protocol for melanoma depends on how far the cancer has spread. The primary goal of any melanoma treatment is to remove all the cancer. This is typically done surgically, either through excision or Mohs surgery. Excision surgery involves numbing your skin, then cutting out the melanoma as well as some of the surrounding skin, also known as the margin area.

Mohs surgery, which is a little more complicated, has a high success rate. This special surgery involves excising the visible parts of the melanoma, and then removing successive layers of skin that may contain cancer cells. Each layer is examined upon removal, and more layers are removed until the cancer is no longer detected. Dr. Hyland Cronin is the Mohs surgeon at Easton Dermatology Associates.  

Major Insurance Providers Accepted

At Easton Dermatology Associates, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.

Aetna
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Cigna
HighMark
Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs
Johns Hopkins Health
Medicare
Mutual of Omaha
Priority Partners
Tricare
UnitedHealthcare
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