Ask our Expert – Dr Ben Esdaile
Discussing melanoma with expert Dermatologist
My mother has recently been diagnosed with melanoma, I am now also worried that I will also be diagnosed with it. Are genetic factors a leading cause of melanoma? What can I do to prevent melanoma?
I am sorry to hear your mother has been diagnosed with melanoma, wishing her the best of health. Melanoma is partly due to genetic factors but not entirely, your lifestyle also has an impact on this. Leading causes of melanoma are: sun exposure, family history, how easy your skin burns and having many moles. Please do not be alarmed by any of these factors, melanoma is completely curable if picked up early enough.
A dermatoscope is a handheld device that allows you to see structures in the skin you are unable to see with the naked eye. Early melanoma has certain structures that can be seen using the dermatoscope and help identify it earlier. Dermoscopy also helps pick up other types of skin cancer. It is worth having a full skin check as many skin cancers are picked up this way.
The most important way to prevent melanoma is sun protection. Do not allow yourself to burn, never use sunbeds and protect your skin with clothes and broad-spectrum sunscreen when exposed to sunlight. In an ideal world, you would also have an annual professional skin check with dermoscopy.
As you can see Juliet, there is no need to worry. There are many steps you are able to take which will prevent melanoma and also many ways of receiving an early diagnosis.
Dr Ben Esdaile is Consultant Dermatologist at Highgate Private Hospital, specialising in mole checks, dermoscopy (a non-invasive method for diagnosing skin cancers), skin surgery & skin cancer.
A private initial consultation with Dr Ben Esdaile at Highgate Private Hospital costs £220 if you are self-funding your treatment. The hospital is approved by all major health insurers, and so welcomes patients with private health insurance.
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