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Malignant melanomas are the most dangerous type of skin cancer and they do not need to be very large to be lethal. Whereas basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas virtually always grow locally and attain large sizes with minimal risks of spreading elsewhere, melanomas may be just a few millimeters in size and already have metastasized (spread elsewhere).

Usually black or brown in coloration, malignant melanomas arise in the pigment layer of the skin and are usually the result of ultraviolet ray induced damage to the DNA of the pigment cells situated here. They may be the result of either extensive sun exposure or intense, occasional ultraviolet light exposure that can lead to sunburns particularly in those individuals who may be genetically predisposed to this carcinoma. Tanning booths have also been implicated as another significant cause.

Malignant melanoma

Recently presented research has implicated another risk factor in the development of malignant melanomas: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have discovered that patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have a 37% increased risk of developing this type of skin cancer.

Identifying this relationship is very important for those individuals with IBD. They will need to be more vigilant for the appearance of any lesion that could possibly be either a melanoma or a precursor lesion. Screenings by a dermatologist may be a prudent choice.

Proactive measures definitely should be taken. This includes minimizing sun exposure in the future, the regular usage of high factor broad spectrum sunscreens and the wearing of sun protective clothing.

For more information on or to seek treatment for a malignant melanoma or any other type of skin cancer, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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A Message Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19

In light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to let you know of some of the major precautions we are taking in our office to maximize cleanliness and keep the environment as sanitary and safe as possible. Our highest priority is always to ensure the safety of every individual who sees us and we are taking extreme infection-control measures to maintain cleanliness and “sterility” of surfaces and the overall environment.

We will be limiting dates and times for office appointments and consultations due to safety and other issues. Consequently, if you have already made an office appointment or consultation prior to March 18, 2020 to occur at a later time, this may need to be changed.

For anyone considering plastic surgery, we are now offering Virtual Consultations and Telemedicine through Skype. A great number of aesthetic or insurance-related issues can be evaluated via pictures and online video conferencing, making this an excellent way to find out more about particular procedures, determine candidacy for treatment, receive answers to questions and facilitate being able to move forward with care once the government lifts all restrictions.

In an abundance of caution, we are asking all current patients who are experiencing a fever, cough, chills, fatigue or any type of respiratory illness to please delay any upcoming appointments at our practice. We can talk with you by phone or email to establish a new date and time for the appointment.

We are all in this together. Our team urges everyone to follow the guidelines recommended by local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include frequent handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds, social distancing, staying home if you are feeling sick, and contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you are experiencing symptoms.

For more information, please read our blog – Coronavirus and You: Important Information

For further updates, please check our blog.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by phone or email.