Melanoma (Skin) Cancers

What You Need to Know about Skin Cancer 

When it comes to fighting skin cancer, prevention and early detection are the best defense 

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skins cells. In the U.S. alone, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year which is more than all other cancers combined. And the incidence is steadily rising. It is estimated that one in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is causes more skin cancer than any other factor, and protecting yourself from the sun is one of the most important things you can do to prevent skin cancer.

Know you’re A-B-C’s to catch skin cancer early

Asymmetry: When half of the mole does not match the other half

Border: When the border (edges) of the mole are ragged or irregular

Color: When the color of the mole is not the same all over; you may see shades of brown or black, sometimes with areas of pink, red, white, or blue

Diameter: If the mole's diameter is larger than a pencil's eraser


The good news is if skin cancer is caught early and properly treated, it can be cured. Treatment options include:

Radiation Therapy 
X-rays are a non-invasive way to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation can be used for lesions anywhere on the body, including delicate areas on the face.

Some types of skin cancer growths can be removed very easily and require only very minor surgery, while others may require a more extensive surgical procedure.

Mohs Surgery 
This procedure removes the cancer and as little normal tissue as possible. During this surgery, the surgeon removes the cancer and then uses a microscope to look at the edges of the tumor to make sure no cancer cells remain.

Systemic treatment 
Chemotherapy administered orally or intravenously (IV) for more advanced cancers.

There are three main types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma

  • Most common, slow growing, and highly treatable form of skin cancer
  • Mainly occurs in areas exposed to the sun
  • Usually appears as a small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin
  • Most common among people with light-colored eyes, hair and complexion

Squamous cell carcinoma

  • More aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, highly treatable
  • May be found on the face, ears, lips, and mouth, can spread to other parts of the body
  • May appear as nodules or red, scaly patches of skin
  • Usually found in fair-skinned people

Malignant melanoma

  • Accounts for a small percentage of all skin cancers, but accounts for most deaths from skin cancer.
  • Starts in the melanocytes-cells that produce pigment in the skin
  • May begin as an abnormal mole that then turns cancerous, and can spread quickly
  • Most often appears on fair-skinned men and women, but people with all skin types may be affected.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor right away. To find a Meridian physician or register for a free skin cancer screening, call 1-800-DOCTORS or visit our community events calendar.

About Our Program

Meridian Cancer Care provides comprehensive and up-to-date treatment for all melanoma patients. Our team is fully equipped to help you with all of your questions about melanoma and provide the most complete and comprehensive care available.

Watch John Gibbs, M.D. speak about skin cancer, prevention and protection on NJTV.

Meet Our Team

At Meridian, we believe the best way to treat you comes through the partnership and collaboration of our highly skilled multi-disciplinary team – and you. For skin cancers, your team may include the following:

Treatment Options

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