Why is early diagnosis of melanoma essential?
Yes, melanoma is not fatal if detected early.
Melanoma is among the most common skin cancers. Currently, it holds a record of killing one person per hour in the US alone.
The good news is, this is not “your” number. That said, it means you can easily survive it, that is, if it is detected early.
Early Detection and Survival
The survival rate for melanoma refers to the proportion of people who are alive for a predetermined amount of time, from 5 or 10 years, after it was diagnosed. Predicting the survival rate for melanoma can be tricky as it doesn’t provide a complete picture for any one individual, but here is the general statistics:
Five-Year Survival Rate by Melanoma Stage:
Localized melanoma: Stage 0, Stage I, and Stage II: 98.4%
Regional melanoma: Stage III: 63.6%
Metastatic melanoma: Stage IV: 22.5%
Based on these numbers, it is easy to say that the earlier melanoma is detected, the better the survival chance grows. As such, experts recommend subjecting to either of these two tests:
The American Cancer Society does not have specific guidelines for the early detection of melanoma, but experts say that knowing one's own skin is important in surviving melanoma. As such, many doctors recommend doing a self-skin exam, preferably once a month.
To do so, doctors suggest preparing a well-lit room with a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror to help look at areas that are hard to see. Once this is ready, then examining all areas of the body will be easier. Friends and family members can help, too.
To learn more, see Can a common mole or a dysplastic nevus become melanoma?
Exam by a healthcare professional
If you think that you have some unusual moles or highly suspicious areas on your skin, then visiting a doctor or other health care professionals for a skin exam may help.
If your primary care doctor finds anything unusual or suspicious on your skin, it is highly possible for you to be referred to a dermatologist who can do regular skin exams. Dermatologists use a technique called dermoscopy and look at spots on the skin more clearly. This is particularly important for people who are at a higher risk of melanoma based on numerous risk factors. They can even recommend a skin biopsy if the skin exam turns out to be highly suspicious.
What can be an even better option for you in case you need a skin biopsy?
If you can find general practitioners or dermatologists who provide more precise and even scar-free solutions, then you are quite lucky! Check if your doctor has Spectra-Scope®, one of the latest technologies in skin cancer diagnosis: the AI-based Spectra-Scope®. This advanced technology is used by many dermatologists to offer an instant, scar-free, and highly accurate diagnosis for all types of skin cancers.
For more information on Spectra-Scope®, you may visit www.speclipse.com.