Melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancer. Melanoma mainly affects middle-aged and young individuals, particularly fair skin types. It is the second most common malignancy in males between the ages of 30 to 49 and the fourth most common malignancy in males between the ages of 50 to 59. About thirty percent of melanomas arise from prior moles while seventy percent of melanomas arise in normal skin and not from pre-existing moles.
Based upon the 2009 American Cancer Society statistics, there were 121,840 new cases of melanomas and 8,650 deaths. This means that 19 Americans die of melanoma every day, which is almost one person per hour.
Melanoma is increased in patients with a family history of melanoma, history of atypical (dysplastic) moles, numerous moles (greater than 50), red hair individuals, individuals with fair skin types and history of several sunburns.
ABCs of skin cancer is a mnemonic device that has been introduced to make people aware of the danger signs of melanomas. These are listed below. For a rack card with the ABCs of skin cancer, please call our office for more information.
Routine skin examination is important every 6 to 12 months, depending on family and personal history. Dr. Behnam performs a comprehensive thorough skin examination checking every inch of the body using the latest magnifiers and dermoscopic devices that allow for better visualization, identification and detection of abnormal moles.