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Mark A. Kuriata, DO, F.A.O.C.D., F.A.A.D.
Esther LaTour, MD
Donn LaTour, MD
Matt Marsh, PA-C
Stephanie Mason, PA-C
Roger T. Moore, MD
Jami Ridgeway, PA-C
Ronda Smith, LE
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Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious and dangerous form of skin cancer that develops due to damaged DNA in melanocytes — pigment-producing cells. It is usually caused by overexposure to UV lights.

What is it?

Melanoma is a severe form of skin cancer that originates in the melanocyte cells, which are responsible for skin pigmentation. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (such as sunlight, tanning beds and sun lamps), damages the DNA in melanocytes. Over time, this damage can lead to mutations, resulting in skin cancer. Melanoma can rapidly spread to other body parts if not detected and treated promptly, emphasizing the importance of early detection.


Alongside your yearly skin examination with one of our board-certified dermatologists at Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center, you should also conduct regular self-checks using the ABCDE method. Call us immediately if a spot or mole presents any of the following symptoms:

  • A - Asymmetry
  • B - Irregular borders
  • C - Color variations from one area to another
  • D - Diameter is larger than a pencil eraser
  • E - Evolution in size, shape or color since your last check


How is it treated?

As we scan your skin for melanoma, we’ll conduct a comprehensive exam from head to toe, including your scalp and between your fingers and toes. We’ll also discuss your areas of concern and examine them more closely. We’re looking for areas, moles, patches and lesions that look different and abnormal, including spots with irregular borders or multiple colors. If an unusual area is identified, we may use a magnifying device to examine the skin more closely. 


If we encounter an area of concern, we may recommend a biopsy, which involves taking a skin sample to test. We’ll send the biopsy to our lab for testing and talk with you about when to expect the results (we understand this can be an anxious time, and we’ll ensure we get the results to you as quickly as possible). 


If cancer has been detected in the biopsy, we will arrange for additional treatments, such as surgery to remove the cancerous area. Other treatments may include medication; if severe, we may refer you to an oncologist for further treatment. 


Again, if you’re concerned, please call our Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center, and we’ll arrange for you to see one of our board-certified dermatologists in one of our Adrian, Battle Creek, Dowagiac, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Sturgis, Michigan, or Angola, Elkhart, Goshen and Plymouth, Indiana offices.


Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with melanoma, the first step toward protecting yourself from it is treating your skin with SPF30+ sunscreen daily—and we mean every single day. Reducing sun exposure and protecting your skin from UV rays can also help decrease your risk of developing melanoma. Always bear in mind that while sun exposure is enjoyable, it can also be harmful. 


THE TREATMENTS BELOW CAN HELP WITH MELANOMA:
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