Russell Akin, MD | Board-Certified Dermatologist | Fellowship-Trained Mohs Surgeon | Skin Cancer Specialist | Midland, Texas
A common myth that people believe to be true is that “skin cancer only affects older people,” which is absolutely not true. Although skin cancer is more common in the older population, we have seen our fair share of younger people with skin cancer, including melanoma-type skin cancer, here at Midland Dermatology. In this post, Dr. Akin answers the question: “Can melanoma-type skin cancer affect young and healthy people?” Check out the full interview on our YouTube channel.
There are two types of “sun-damaged melanoma,” which are “lentigo maligna” melanoma or “superficial-spreading” melanoma. Lentigo maligna melanoma usually appears in people who are over the age of 50 years old, while superficial-spreading melanoma is the type of melanoma that we typically see in younger people who are between the ages of 20-40 years old.
Superficial-spreading melanoma is much more likely to develop from either one bad sunburn or several bad sunburns in childhood, whereas lentigo maligna melanoma is more related to lifetime sun exposure. From my experience, the development of melanoma can occur anywhere from several years to decades later.
The tragedy with melanoma skin cancer is that it can affect completely healthy, young individuals, and not just people who are older. Some types of melanomas are much more likely to metastasize earlier than others, and it can and does affect young patients. Unfortunately, there are about 10,000 people per year who die from melanoma-type skin cancer.
The treatment options that we have available for melanoma today are much better than they were even 5-7 years ago. One of the reasons for better treatment options is due to a better understanding of the genetics associated with melanoma, and the interplay between cells, medications, and treatments.. We have medications now that will prolong life, when we did not have those medications 10 or so years ago.
For more information regarding skin cancer removal and treatment options at Midland Dermatology, visit our Skin Cancer Treatments page or check out our Facebook or Instagram page for helpful skincare tips and education. At Midland Dermatology, we offer Mohs surgery and Xoft Brachytherapy to treat skin cancer. Mohs surgery is considered one of the best options for skin cancer removal, as it only removes thin layers of cancer-infected skin until cancer-free skin remains, while Xoft is a painless, non-surgical option to treat non-melanoma-type skin cancer.
Russell Akin, MD, RPh. FACMS, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon who specializes in skin cancer treatments and other dermatological procedures with patients ages 12 and up at Midland Dermatology in Midland, Texas. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Akin, or any of the providers at Midland Dermatology, please call 432-689-2512.