Melanoma in Smithtown NY
Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, which are the cells that make the pigment melanin and are derived from the neural crest. Although most melanomas arise in the skin, they may also arise from mucosal surfaces or at other sites to which neural crest cells migrate. Melanoma occurs predominantly in adults, and more than 50% of the cases arise in apparently normal areas of the skin. Early signs in a nevus that would suggest malignant change include darker or variable discoloration, itching, an increase in size. Ulceration or bleeding are later signs. Melanoma in women occurs more commonly on the extremities and in men, it occurs most commonly on the trunk or head and neck, but it can arise from any site on the skin surface. A biopsy, preferably by local excision, should be performed for any suspicious lesions, and the specimens should be examined by an experienced pathologist to allow for microstaging.
Clinical staging is based on whether the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or distant sites. For disease clinically confined to the primary site, the greater the thickness and depth of local invasion of the melanoma are, the higher the chance of lymph node or systemic metastases, and the worse the prognosis is. Melanoma can spread by local extension (through lymphatics) and/or by hematogenous routes to distant sites. Any organ may be involved by metastases, but lungs and liver are common sites. The risk of relapse decreases substantially over time, though late relapses are not uncommon
If melanoma is confined to the skin (primary melanoma), you will have surgery. The entire melanoma is cut out, along with a border (margin) of normal-appearing skin. If the melanoma is thin and hasn't spread to surrounding tissues, this may cure the melanoma
Melanoma can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, where it can cause tumors. When melanoma has spread to only one tumor in another part of the body, it sometimes can be successfully treated with surgery. But metastatic melanoma usually needs other treatments, too, such as chemotherapy, interferon and immunotherapy. The most important thing to remember is the early detection of melanoma leads to a better chance of survival.