Melanoma is a very serious type of skin cancer that has its origin in a specific skin cell that produces melanin. Despite its gravity, it can be cured if caught and treated early. It is therefore important to identify signs and symptoms of the disease, and have the necessary tests done. But what does testing involve, and is a melanoma test painful? Let’s take a look.
Melanoma usually begins in skin cells known as melanocytes, which form melanin. Melanin is the pigment that makes the skin dark in color, and also helps to protect the deeper layers of skin from the effects of the sun. When there are abnormal changes in these skin cells, it can alter their DNA, resulting in the formation of cancerous masses.
It is not uncommon for melanocytes to form moles, which are usually harmless skin tumors. However, people with a large number of moles are at greater risk for developing melanoma.
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of melanoma, such changes in the shape, size, and color of an existing mole, then you should visit your doctor immediately. The doctor will perform a physical examination, and if he suspects that it may be melanoma, a test such as a skin biopsy is done.
Is it Painful?
A skin biopsy involves removing a sample portion of the suspected area and sending it to a lab for a microscopic analysis. Skin biopsies are usually done under local anesthetic and are not generally painful, but patients will feel some pressure as the skin is being extracted.
You can contact Skin Care Center in Chicago, Glenview, and Lake Forest, Illinois to find out more about testing for melanoma. Call 773-296-3636 for the Chicago office, 847-901-0252 for Glenview, and 847-234-6121 for our office in Lake Forrest.