What You Need to Know

Melanoma is cancer that starts in the skin cells known as the melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that make a brown pigment called melanin which give your skin a tan or brown color. They protect layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin but is seen most commonly on the chest and back in men and the legs in women. Melanoma is dangerous if not caught early because it can spread to other parts of the body. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call (713) 798-2262.

Prevention and Risk Factors

Limiting your exposure to UV rays is the most important way to reduce your risk of melanoma.

Risk factors that can increase your risk of melanoma include:

  • Moles
  • Fair skin and freckling
  • Family history
  • A weakened immune system
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)

Symptoms

An unusual mole, sore, lump, or changes in the way an area of the skin looks may be a sign of melanoma.

Screening and Diagnosis

If cancer is suspected, a skin biopsy will be performed. Once a pathologist looks at the biopsy results, a team of physicians will discuss treatment options with the patient and make individual recommendations.

Treatment

Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists consult and collaborate to ensure treatment is optimized to meet the patient’s needs. Treatments can include surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.