Melanoma

Jeffrey Bell, MD

General Surgeon & Robotic Surgery Specialist located in Fayetteville, AR

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Though it only makes up 1% of skin cancer cases, melanoma causes the most skin cancer deaths. Surgical removal of melanoma is one of the primary treatments for skin cancer. Jeffrey Bell, MD, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is an experienced general surgeon and specializes in melanoma resection, as well as sentinel node biopsy. To schedule a surgical consultation, contact the office by phone today.

Melanoma

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs in your melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigments that give your skin color. Typically, your skin cells produce new cells in a controlled and orderly manner.

However, damage to the DNA in your skin cells may trigger an overproduction of cells, creating a mass of cancerous cells. Unlike other types of skin cancer, melanoma grows and invades other areas of your body quickly. 

Though researchers are still investigating what causes DNA damage in your skin cells, they theorize that it may occur due to a combination of genetics and environmental exposure. 

Though melanoma can develop on any part of your body, including those areas never exposed to the sun, doctors believe that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds also plays a role in skin cell DNA damage. 

What are the symptoms of melanoma?

You can develop melanoma on any part of your body. However, the skin cancer lesions most often occur in areas of the body exposed to the sun, including the face, back, arms, and legs.

Melanoma may grow from an existing mole or create pigmented skin lesions that resemble a mole. Signs and symptoms your mole may be melanoma include:

  • Asymmetry, the mole has an irregular shape
  • Borders are irregular, scalloped, or notched
  • Color change, mole color isn’t uniform
  • Diameter, the mole is larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving, the mole has changed shape, color, size over time


If you find any abnormal skin growths, contact your primary care provider right away. Detecting and treating melanoma, or any other type of skin cancer early improves outcomes. 

How is melanoma treated?

Treatment for melanoma may depend on the size and stage of your cancer. Dr. Bell, a highly experienced general surgeon, performs melanoma resection procedures. During the surgery, he removes the cancerous lesion, some of the healthy skin surrounding your melanoma, and some of the healthy tissue underneath.

If caught during the early stages, this may be the only treatment needed for your melanoma. However, if your melanoma has spread to other areas of your body, you may require additional treatments, such as immunotherapy, radiation, or chemotherapy.

What is a sentinel node biopsy?

A sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure that determines if your melanoma has invaded your lymph system. 

Your sentinel nodes are the lymph nodes closest to your tumor and most likely to have cancerous cells. 

During a sentinel biopsy, Dr. Bell, a highly experienced general surgeon, first injects a tracer material into your body to find the sentinel nodes, removes them, and sends them out for testing.  

Dr. Bell is an experienced surgeon with expertise in melanoma resection and sentinel node biopsy. To schedule a surgical consultation, contact his office by phone today.