YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and the most likely to spread, but doctors have changed how they are attacking it.
Surgeons are now going after lymph nodes, the organs or pieces of tissue within the body designed to clean the skin. Melanoma tumors take advantage of these nodes.
Newer treatments that target a specific protein in the immune system which can slow the growth of the melanoma are also available.
Despite that, it is up to patients to know their own risk.
“If you have a personal history of melanoma, if you have a family history of melanoma, if you have more than fifty moles, we call them nevi, if you have a history of atypical moles, or if you have a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, all those things in various levels increase your risk,” said Dr. Brian Gastman, an oncologist with the Cleveland Clinic.
Check the skin for spots that appear asymmetrical, have a misshaped border, are two different colors or are large or seem to change over time.
Childhood sunburns, blistering burns, chronic sun exposure and use of tanning beds also increase the risk of skin cancer.