Melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer, occurs when normal skin cells transform into abnormal cells, and then continue growing. To test for melanoma, Dr. Feledy examines the skin on your body. If melanoma is suspected, a biopsy is ordered. The biopsy will involve the removal of all or part of the affected area, followed by an inspection under a microscope.
In most cases, melanoma requires surgery to remove the cancer, even if it appears that biopsy has removed the entire abnormal area. During melanoma surgery, Dr. Feledy may also examine nearby areas (such as the lymph nodes) to determine if the melanoma has spread inside the body.
Melanoma may occur in any area of the skin, including areas that are difficult to see. When melanoma is left untreated, it can spread to other organs.
FAQ About Melanoma Surgery
Who gets melanoma?
Genetics, prolonged sun exposure, pale skin or a history of excessive sunburn may increase your risk of melanoma. If you have a relative who has been diagnosed with melanoma, you may need to undergo more frequent skin examinations and checkups.
How do I know if it's melanoma?
The ABCDE method is commonly used to diagnose the first signs of melanoma.
- Asymmetry – Half of a lesion looks different than the other half.
- Border – Lesion has a jagged/uneven edge.
- Color – Lesion has different colors.
- Diameter – Lesion is larger than a pencil's eraser end.
- Evolution – Changing color or shape over time.
Melanoma lesions can become swollen, red, or crusty. They may also bleed. If you have a mole or birthmark that looks abnormal, have it checked by a physician.
How does melanoma surgery work?
Before surgery, we perform a process called staging, which determines how far the disease has spread. This often involves a complete examination, X-rays, blood tests and possibly a radiologic exam.
Melanoma surgery varies depending on the stage of the disease. If the lesion (or tumor) is localized, the doctor's goal will typically include 1) surgical removal of the melanoma, 2) evaluation of the lymph nodes for possible involvement, and 3) prevention of melanoma recurrence.
If Dr. Feledy performs surgery to remove (or excise) the melanoma lesion, he will remove the lesion, along with 1-2 centimeters of the surrounding skin. If necessary, skin grafting and radiation therapy may be performed after the lesion is removed.
What are the alternative treatments for melanoma?
Although surgery is typically required for effective treatment, some cases may indicate chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation therapy.
Schedule a Consultation to Learn More
To learn more about melanoma surgery, please call Belmont Aesthetic in Chevy Chase or Stafford. Call 540-891-0040 to reach our Stafford office, or 301-654-5666 to reach the Chevy Chase office.