When Would You Need a Melanoma Biopsy?

Melanoma is considered as being the most serious type of skin cancer and if diagnosed and treated early it can be taken care of. However, if it is left unnoticed or untreated for an extended period of time it will tend to advance and spread to other parts of the body and can quickly become a very serious problem.

Melanoma is a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes which are the cells in the skin that produce the pigment melanin that colors the hair, skin, and eyes.

Risk Factors

Although there is no single known cause for melanoma, biopsy studies show that there are certain risk factors that are considered as being capable of causing the disease to develop. Sun exposure is by far the most contributing factor to melanoma and both UVA and UVB rays are dangerous to the skin and can induce all types of skin cancer including melanoma.

Moles are also often a risk factor, and there are two different kinds of moles, those which are normal and tend to appear in the first few decades of life, and then those that are known as atypical moles and which can cause skin cancer.

Family history also often plays a major role here, as about one in every ten patients who are diagnosed with melanoma after a biopsy have at least one other family member with a history of the disease. Each person with a first-degree relative that has been diagnosed with the condition before actually has up to a 50 per cent greater chance of developing the disease themselves.

Melanoma Biopsy

A melanoma biopsy is performed when a suspicious lesion or mark on the skin requires diagnosis. It is the information that is contained in this melanoma biopsy that will determine the proper management and prognosis of the patient. For any lesion that is considered as being especially suspicious for melanoma, surgical excision is usually recommended, as long as the lesion is small enough to be excised.

For a larger lesion on the skin, tangential excision by shave biopsy is often the chosen method, although notable exceptions may include congenital lesions, blue nevi, and palpable pigmented lesions with any significant suspicion for melanoma.

Although there is no way to absolutely prevent melanoma, by having a biopsy when recommended, you are doing whatever you can to nip this in the bud. Apart from this, be sure to protect your skin whenever you are in the sun, getting lots of moderate exercise and maintain as generally healthy a lifestyle as you can. This way you will be taking large steps towards guarding yourself against developing the disease now and later on in life.

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