Learning that you have malignant melanoma may leave you with many concerns and questions about your prognosis. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham has the expertise you need to feel confident about your treatment for malignant melanoma. Like others in the Columbus and Upper Arlington area who have malignant melanoma, you will be better able to make informed decisions about your care.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. The cancer develops in cells known as “melanocytes” that produce melanin, a special amino acid that gives color to your skin, hair and eyes. Although it is possible to develop malignant melanoma in the eyes, the condition most often is found on the skin. Cancer researchers have not defined a specific cause for malignant melanoma, but researchers do know that frequent sun exposure and use of tanning beds increases your likelihood of developing the condition.Malignant melanoma can appear on any part of your face and body, but is more likely to develop in areas that are most exposed to the sun, such as the face, legs, arms and back. Rare cases do occur that involve the bottoms of the feet, beds of the fingernails and palms of the hands.You should monitor your skin and any moles that you have for signs of malignant melanoma. An existing mole may change color, shape or size. Other early signs that occur on the skin are changes in pigmentation or new growths.
The word “malignant” indicates that melanoma is cancerous, and early treatment plays an important role in your prognosis. Dr. Hicks-Graham would rather that you be evaluated and learn if you do or do not have malignant melanoma than wait to see if the skin or mole changes. If left untreated, malignant melanoma can grow into the surrounding skin and even internal organs.
Treatment for malignant melanoma can be performed on any area of the body or face where the skin cancer develops. Dr. Hicks-Graham will recommend treatments that have the greatest potential for eliminating the skin cancer while minimizing unwanted side effects.
Malignant melanoma that is in the early stage of development can be removed surgically. Dr. Hicks-Graham will remove the cancerous tissue, as well as a margin of healthy tissue. If the malignant melanoma has spread to the internal organs, Dr. Hicks-Graham will refer you to an oncologist for treatment.
In the days prior to your appointment, please put together some information that will help Dr. Hicks-Graham make the appropriate treatment recommendations. You should have:
You may want to have someone come with you to the consultation in case Dr. Hicks-Graham wants to refer you for blood tests and other diagnostics that are performed outside our facility.
Recovery from malignant melanoma treatment depends on the extent and type of procedure. If Dr. Hicks-Graham is able to successfully remove the malignant melanoma tissue, you will have an incision that is closed with sutures. The area will need to be kept clean and dry until it is fully healed.
Malignant melanoma treatment is covered by insurance, and we will help with determining your out-of-pocket costs. Payment for your portion must be made at the time of treatment via cash, check, major credit card or CareCredit® financing.
Malignant melanoma is a serious type of cancer that can spread to other areas of your body. If you notice an unusual growth, changes in your moles or areas of darker skin, contact us to schedule a consultation.
A consultation with Dr. Hicks-Graham gives you peace of mind in knowing that you will receive high-quality care for your malignant melanoma. Contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment.Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer that is linked to sun exposure and tanning beds. She provides treatment for those living in the Columbus and Upper Arlington area at her practice — Downtown Dermatology.