We diagnosed 8 new melanomas in the month of June. That is a lot for one month. A normal month for our practice might be 1 or 2 new melanomas. Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer, but luckily the least common. As a point of reference, we diagnose about 60 or 70 basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas in a typical month. These “less serious” skin cancers are much more common.
Why so many melanomas in June?
It is probably just statistical coincidence that we found so many melanomas last month, but Dr. Blyumin looked it up and found that June is traditionally the month when the greatest number of melanomas are diagnosed in the U.S.. Perhaps people shed the winter clothing and examine their skin more closely during the month of June. Or perhaps as summer starts, more people have time to come in for skin checks. The real answer is “we don’t know”.
What happens to these patients?
Melanomas need to be treated surgically, so most of these patients are sent to a surgical oncologist. Out of the 8 melanomas we found in June, 6 were “melanoma in situ”. These are very early melanomas that are only in the top layer of skin and have not yet invaded to the deeper layers of the skin or beyond. This is the stage at which we would like to catch all melanomas because the outcome is excellent. Surgery is usually a total cure. Deeper melanomas can metastasize or even be fatal. Fortunately, none of melanomas we diagnosed in June were very deep, so all of the patients should do fine.
Take home lesson:
Get yearly skin checks (or more frequently if you have risk factors for melanoma such as family history or numerous atypical moles). If you see a new or changing mole, come in and show us. We want to catch all melanomas early, so they can be cured without affecting your health.
Read more about skin cancer:
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The Staff and Doctors at Minars Dermatology
Why so many?
Take home lesson:
“Fun Summer Nights Just for Women”:
Our own Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD will be the featured speaker at the “Fun Summer Nights Just for Women” lecture series this Thursday, July 15 from 6:30 to 8pm at Memorial Regional Hospital South (on Washington Street) Auditorium. The title of the talk is “Scintillating facts about skincare, sun safety, and skin cancer prevention.” There will be hors d’oeuvres, complimentary child care, and valet parking. They are also offering complimentary mini-spa treatments for the first 20 people to RSVP at (954) 518-5045.