Dr. Sanjana Iyengar, a Lakeland Regional Health dermatologist, examines the skin of Lance Devore during a skin cancer screening at LRH Hollis Cancer Center.

Early diagnosis and treatment crucial for melanoma patients

Treatment will begin and end in a dermatologist’s office for most patients who get melanoma.

They won’t need the array of advanced treatments discussed in an accompanying article. They won’t see medical or surgical oncologists.

“People get scared of that word, melanoma, but if it’s caught in the early stages, it’s curable,” said Dr. Pamela Sakalosky, a Watson Clinic dermatologist.

Dr. Pamela Sakalosky

Highly curable, in fact.

The five-year survival rate for localized melanoma  that hasn’t spread beyond the skin where it was found  is as high as 99 percent.

This is  a sharp contrast to the 30 percent for people whose cancer has spread to distant parts of the body (lungs, liver or skin in other areas). The rate is  68 percent if cancer is found when it’s spread to nearby areas or lymph nodes.

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