Melanoma: What You Need to Know
As printed in the January 2023 edition of East Fishkill Living magazine.
Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, killing oneAmerican every hour. In the past decade (2012-2022),the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually has increased by 31 percent.
If a melanoma is suspected, a quick referral to a dermatology provider for biopsy should be initiated, as timely diagnosis of this quickly advancing melanocytic skin lesion determines prognosis. Without early detection, melanoma can quickly metastasize and become fatal.
EARLY DETECTION IS CRUCIAL
To accurately diagnose and stage melanoma, a prompt biopsy must be performed to determine the depth of the lesion. The depth of the melanoma at diagnosis is the most important prognostic factor. The five-year survival rate for melanomas in situ is 99.9 percent, while melanomas 1.01 to 2.00 mm in depth have a five-year survival of 45 to 79 percent. The five-year survival rate is 10 to 20 percent (stage IV). The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent.
Access to dermatological care is vital to early melanoma diagnosis, especially when melanoma is in question. Unfortunately, prompt appointments for a biopsy of a suspicious lesion are often delayed due to a national shortage of dermatologists. Demand for dermatologic care is rising. Increased dermatologist density has been associated with lower melanoma mortality rates and improved diagnosis of skin disease.
The Art of Skin Dermatology offices were built to meet the demands for dermatology care in the Hudson Valley. Melanoma detection has been a personal passion of mine for 25 years of practice and was the focus of my doctoral thesis “The Melanoma Initiative.” In fact, prompt melanoma detection was the motivating passion behind the development of The Art of Skin Dermatology offices in the Hudson Valley.
A NONTRADITIONAL DERMATOLOGY EXPERIENCE
One of our primary goals is to provide immediate access to dermatology care with same-day appointments. Our passion is tangible and palpable – an appointment at The Art of Skin Dermatology is unique, in a relaxing environment, which helps ease patient anxiety. Friendly staff put forth 100 percent effort and commitment to excellence, care and respect toward patients. The mission of our practice is to provide patients with a compassionate dermatology experience immersed in style. Embracing the traditional, almost extinct office model of the past, The Art of Skin Dermatology strives to forever remain non-corporate, nonassembly line – a place where providers and patients can have meaningful interactions. Most importantly, a place where patients will always have access to immediate care.
Written by: Tania Cohen, DMSC, PA-C