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What are the Signs of Melanoma?

Wearing sunscreen isn’t just for summer. You must be aggressive with sun protection, and you also need to be checking your skin periodically for suspicious moles. Warning signs include moles that have changed in size, shape, sensation, or color. Also watch for moles or lesions that bleed, itch, or that don’t heal. Although it can develop anywhere, melanoma most frequently occurs on the legs (females) and the trunk (males). It’s also often found on the neck and face.  

The “ABCDE” Warning Signs of Melanoma

  • Asymmetry: Most melanomas are asymmetrical. 
  • Border: Melanomas usually have uneven, scalloped, or notched borders.
  • Color: Melanomas may have different shades of brown, black, or tan that become red, white, or blue with growth.
  • Diameter/Dark: A mole that is 6mm or ¼ inch in diameter or larger must be checked.
  • Evolving: A mole that changes in size, shape, color, or elevation must be checked. If it crusts, itches, or bleeds, this is also cause for examination.

If you have any indications of melanoma and are in Sarasota, Fl, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation

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Causes of Melanoma

  • Ultraviolet radiation, both naturally from the sun and artificially through tanning beds 
  • Genetic factors and immune system deficiencies
  • Childhood sunburns and exposure to the sun
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No Safe Way to Tan: The Danger of UV Light

The World Health Organization and Department of Health and Human Services has declared UV light a known carcinogen. UV radiation in the form of UVA and UVB is responsible for all aspects of sun damage on everyone’s skin. As most villains have a network of underlings to do their bidding, so does UV radiation. Among them are:

  • Fair skin, light hair, and light eyes
  • Tendency to burn and freckle
  • History of radiation exposure
  • Chronic immunosuppression in organ transplant recipients
  • Disease states such as leukemia and lymphoma

Any type of tan represents the skin’s response to sun damage, and puts you at risk for skin cancer and a variety of other growths. As the sun damage accumulates, so does the risk of developing skin cancer or pre-cancerous growths.

How Melanoma Develops

Melanocytes are a particular kind of cell that can turn into melanoma cancer; this is where melanoma typically starts. Melanocytes produce melanin — the pigment that is responsible for your skin color and also a protector of your skin against sun damage.

Cancer occurs when these melanocytes begin to grow out of control and form a tumor. Melanoma may develop from an ordinary mole that already exists. If you detect changes in its appearance, we can help with any concerns regarding your melanoma in Sarasota.

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Why is Dr. Joseph Greco a Top Mohs Surgeon?

  • With a 15-year history as a Mohs surgeon at UCLA, one of the premier hospital systems in the nation, he also served as Director of UCLA Santa Monica Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery for 12 years.
  • Double board-certified by The American Board of Dermatology in Dermatology and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery.
  • Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon (micrographic), reconstructive surgery, cutaneous oncology, and laser surgery at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA with an intense focus on microsurgical reconstructive techniques and utilizing advanced reconstructive and suturing techniques.
  • Served as Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • A member of The American College of Mohs Surgery: the premier organization of fellowship-trained skin cancer and reconstructive surgeons specializing in Mohs micrographic surgery
  • One of the first dermatologic surgeons to pass The American Board of Dermatology subspecialty exam to be certified in Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery in 2021
  • One of a select number of double board-certified and fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic surgeons in the country
  • Appeared as a faculty presenter at numerous national conferences and workshops on surgical anatomy, advanced surgical reconstructive techniques, cutaneous oncology, and new laser and light source technologies
  • Author of an extensive list of book chapters, publications, and national lectures in the field of surgical anatomy, Mohs micrographic surgery, reconstructive surgery, cutaneous oncology, laser surgery, and the surgical anatomy of the head and neck
  • A 15-year history of skin cancer focus, which has allowed him to perform over 20,000 Mohs and surgical excision procedures
  • Participated in the training of 14 Mohs micrographic surgery fellows
  • Recognized annually by peers as a SuperDoctor® in Southern California (2016-2022) as well as a TopDoctor® in Los Angeles in 2018

How is Melanoma Diagnosed?

Melanoma is diagnosed with a skin biopsy which can be done with a needle or excisional biopsy. The sample is evaluated to determine if cancer cells are present. If melanoma is found, the next step is to identify the stage of the cancer and appropriate treatment options. The stages of melanoma depend on how deep the cancer is, its thickness, and how far it has spread.

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How is Melanoma Treated?

A melanoma surgeon will need to remove the cancerous cells. At Greco Dermatology in Sarasota, Dr. Joseph Greco utilizes excisional surgery, the most common form of treatment. This may be performed in a single treatment or staged over multiple days depending on the size and location of the tumor.

In cases of advanced melanoma, Dr. Greco will coordinate additional care with surgical and medical oncology where additional evaluation and management will be performed. Dr. Greco will continue to closely monitor your progress after your Mohs surgery, as melanoma patients have an increased risk of developing it again. 

Dr. Joseph Greco: Your Sarasota Melanoma Surgeon

Joseph F. Greco, M.D. is a Mohs surgeon and skin cancer specialist who has been fellowship-trained in Mohs micrographic surgery, reconstructive surgery, cutaneous oncology, and laser surgery at UCLA, where he served as Director of UCLA Santa Monica Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery for 12 years. He is double board-certified by The American Board of Dermatology in Dermatology and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery, and is one of a select number of double board-certified and fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic surgeons in the country. During his time in Los Angeles, he performed over 20,000 Mohs and excisional surgery procedures. He is a third-generation doctor who provides a warm personal touch and always keeps appointments as lighthearted and as fun as possible with his sense of humor. If you’re in the Sarasota area and you’re seeking a premier melanoma surgeon, you’re in the right place — and we encourage you to reach out to us today.

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