Alan Rockoff, MD
Dr. Rockoff received his undergraduate degree from Yeshiva College with the distinction of Summa Cum Laude. He received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His internship and two years of Pediatric residency were at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, followed by training in Dermatology at the combined residency program at Tufts and Boston Universities. Dr. Rockoff is certified by both the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Pediatrics.
Frederick Hecht, MD, FAAP, FACMG
Frederick Hecht, MD, lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Hecht is a Pediatrician and Medical Geneticist and is certified by both the American Boards of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics. Dr. Hecht was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris receiving his BA degree cum laude with distinction from Dartmouth.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Melanoma facts
- What does melanoma look like? What are the symptoms and signs?
- What if the skin changes are rapid or dramatic?
- What are the causes and risk factors for melanoma?
- How do I know my level of risk for melanoma?
- What are the types of melanoma?
- How is melanoma diagnosed?
- How do doctors determine the prognosis (outlook) of a melanoma?
- What is the treatment for melanoma?
- What methods are available to help prevent melanoma?
- What is in the future for melanoma?
- Additional Resources
- Skin Cancer (Melanoma) FAQs
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What methods are available to help prevent melanoma?
- Reducing sun exposure: Avoidance of sun exposure is the best means of helping to prevent melanoma, followed by wearing hats and tightly woven clothing, and then followed by broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreens applied liberally and often. There has been some controversy about the extent to which sunscreens protect against melanoma. The consensus among dermatologists is that sunscreens are at least partially helpful and are certainly preferable to unprotected sun exposure. (Despite sensational articles in the popular press, there is no credible evidence that sunscreens can cause melanoma.)
- Early detection: Get your skin checked at least once. Then, if it is recommended, have your skin checked on a regular basis. The American Academy of Dermatology sponsors free skin cancer screening clinics every May all over the country. Special "Pigmented Lesion Clinics" have also been established in many medical centers to permit close clinical and photographic follow-up of patients at high risk. In most areas, these clinics are only available to patients who have been referred to them by a concerned dermatologist.
- Screening of high-risk individuals: Anyone at high risk, such as anyone with a close relative who has melanoma, should be screened by a doctor for melanoma.
When it comes to spots on the skin, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Melanoma is a potentially serious form of skin cancer. Diagnosed early and treated properly, it can very often be cured.
Guideline # 1: Nobody can diagnose him- or herself. If you see a spot that looks as though it is new or changing, show it to a doctor.
What is in the future for melanoma?
Research in melanoma is headed in three directions: prevention, more precise diagnosis, and better treatment for advanced disease.
- Prevention: Public education and more widely available screening clinics can increase public awareness of the need for sun avoidance, sunscreen use, and early detection of suspicious spots.
- More precise diagnosis: Newer experimental techniques, such as the confocal scanning laser microscope, may help doctors make more certain calls on borderline or suspicious spots.
- Better treatment for advanced disease: Because conventional chemotherapy has been disappointing with melanoma, researchers have turned their attention to biologic treatments of advanced melanoma to stimulate the body's own immune response against the tumor. These biologic treatments include interferon, interleukins, monoclonal antibodies, and tumor vaccines.
Next: Additional Resources
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