One of the Most Dangerous Killers is Easiest to Catch

Melanoma–a very dangerous form of cancer–is in the news, largely due to recent announcements regarding the health of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

In light of President Carter's ongoing battle, Dermatologist Elizabeth Houshmand, M.D., FAAD, director of the Dermatology Division of SKINTASTIC Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Skin Care Centers, is strongly recommending annual skin cancer checks to all patients.

"The most effective treatment for melanoma is early and regular detection," Dr. Houshmand tells her patients. "In the case of melanoma, ignoring it and hoping it will go away just isn't an option." Melanoma is not the most common of the skin cancers, but it is the most insidious. Melanoma can be treated and cured if caught early.

Melanomas occur most often on the legs of women, and in men, melanomas are found most often on the back. Detected skin melanomas can usually be removed surgically. They range from a thin layer on the surface of the epidermis, to four millimeters deep into the fat layer of the skin. If not detected early, melanomas can spread on the skin, and through the blood to the brain, lymph nodes, bones, lungs, liver, and abdomen.