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
- 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?
- Melanoma At A Glance
- Additional Resources
- Skin Cancer (Melanoma) FAQs
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
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. And one more time...
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.
Melanoma At A Glance
- Melanoma is a cancer that develops in pigment cells called melanocytes.
- Patients themselves are the first to detect many melanomas.
- Caught early, most melanomas can be cured with relatively minor surgery.
- Melanoma can be more serious than the other forms of skin cancer, because it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and cause serious illness and death.
- Spots suspicious for melanoma show one or more of the following features (the ABCDs): Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color changes, a Diameter more than the size of a pencil eraser.
- Elevated risk factors for melanoma include Caucasian (white) ancestry, fair skin, light hair and light-colored eyes, a history of intense sun exposure, close blood relatives with melanoma, and moles that are unusually numerous, large, irregular, or "funny looking."
- Doctors diagnose melanoma by biopsy (removing a piece of skin for analysis).
- The most common forms of melanoma are superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, and lentigo maligna.
- Treatment of melanoma is primarily by surgical removal.
- Changing or suspicious spots should be brought to medical attention right away.
Next: Additional Resources
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