Melanoma is generally recognized as being the most serious and potentially the most fatal form of all skin cancers.
The onset of melanoma is typically characterized by a change in either the size, shape, color or texture of an existing mole or skin lesion.
Melanoma lesions will typically have an asymmetrical or irregular shape.
The color of melanoma lesions may not be uniform. Often, the color of melanoma lesions can vary from shades of black, brown or tan. Frequently, melanoma may present as a multi-colored lesion.
Melanoma lesions frequently can change in size and color.
There are several well-recognized risk factors associated with the development of melanoma.
Individuals with fair skin or with a history of sunburn injury to their skin are recognized as being at increased risk for the development of melanoma lesions.
Individuals who have a family history of the development of melanoma lesions or other forms of skin cancer may also be at an increased risk for the development of potentially fatal melanoma lesions.
Melanoma can usually be treated and cured if diagnosed at an early stage. The failure to diagnose and treat melanoma can lead to metastasis. That is, the melanoma cancer cells can spread from the area of the skin into the lymph nodes and to other parts of the body, including the liver or brain.
Metastatic melanoma is difficult to treat and is often fatal.
A reasonable and careful doctor who suspects that a particular skin lesion might be melanoma will always perform a biopsy of the lesion, which is the only way that a definitive diagnosis of melanoma can be made.
In many cases, however, an inexperienced or negligent care provider will simply burn or “cauterize” the lesion without obtaining a biopsy. In many cases, simply cauterizing or excising a melanoma lesion will not prevent a recurrence or metastasis.
The Law Firm of Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler, LLC has extensive experience in representing families whose loved ones have been grievously injured or died as a result of medical malpractice associated with the failure to diagnose and treat melanoma.