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Santa Barbara Skin Institute

Dermatology & Mohs Surgery located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

Though melanoma accounts for only about 3% of skin cancer cases, this disease is responsible for more than 75% of skin cancer-related deaths. Roberta Sengelmann, MD is a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon who treats melanoma at Santa Barbara Skin Institute in Santa Barbara and Solvang, California. For the highest quality of care in melanoma management, call or book an appointment online today.

Melanoma Q & A

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, melanoma is almost always curable with early diagnosis and treatment from the expert team at Santa Barbara Skin Institute.

This type of cancer affects melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment that provides color to your skin, called melanin. Melanoma forms when genetic mutations cause these cells to multiply rapidly and develop into cancerous tumors.

How can I tell if I have melanoma?

Melanomas typically look like moles on your skin, and sometimes develop from existing moles. Most melanomas are black or brown, but they can also appear as flesh-colored, pink, red, purple, blue, or white.

These moles can appear anywhere on your body, but most often affect areas that receive frequent sun exposure, such as your face or arms. The first signs and symptoms of melanoma usually involve a change in an existing mole or the growth of a new, unusual-looking mole.

If you suspect you may have melanoma, or any type of skin cancer, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment at Santa Barbara Skin Institute.

What are the ABCDEs of melanoma?

The letters ABCDE can help you remember characteristics that may indicate melanomas or another type of skin cancer. When it comes to dermatology, these letters stand for:

  • A is for asymmetry, such as two different-looking halves
  • B is for irregular border, including scalloped or notched
  • C is for changes in color or many different colors
  • D is for diameter, including moles greater than one-quarter inch
  • E is for evolving, including changes in appearance or new symptoms

Skin cancers vary greatly. You might experience only one or two of these characteristics, or all of them. New signs and symptoms that may develop include bleeding and itching.

What is the treatment for melanoma?

First, Dr. Sengelmann thoroughly evaluates your melanoma. Both physicians are fellowship-educated Mohs surgeons who have achieved the highest degree of training. When caught in its early stages, melanoma is often treatable with Mohs surgery.

Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly successful skin cancer treatment that removes small layers of tissue until no cancer cells remain. To learn more about Mohs surgery for melanoma, call Santa Barbara Skin Institute or book an appointment online.

For more information on Melanoma, please visit the following websites: