Melanoma Dermatologist2019-05-21T13:08:46+00:00

Feel in charge of your skin

PERSONALISED DERMATOLOGY TREATMENT PLANS

AT RISK? TAKE SKIN CANCER QUIZ

In melanoma, the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) multiply uncontrollably, and this results in skin cancer

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF MELANOMA – AND HOW TO TREAT IT

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have melanoma. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

Book a consultation

Skin treatment enables people of all ages to take control of their skin condition and get their life back

AT RISK? TAKE SKIN CANCER QUIZ

How does melanoma impact people on a day-by-day basis?

LIKE ANY SKIN CANCER, MELANOMA CAN RESULT IN EXCESSIVE WORRY AND RUMINATION – FORTUNATELY, IF CAUGHT EARLY, THEY ARE HIGHLY TREATABLE

Melanoma symptoms include…

You might notice that a pre-existing mole has started to change in size, shape and or colour. More commonly, a new pigmented lesion may arise that is continually changing.

As melanoma progresses…

The colour of the affected lesion may become darker, and eventually black, though sometimes change consists of new red areas within the lesion, or loss of pigment. The shape might change, with new extra bits growing, resulting in an irregular outline.

As time goes on…

A lesion might become lumpy where it was previously completely flat. You might notice symptoms such as bleeding, pain or itching.

Melanoma can lead to emotional distress

You can have emotional and social effects as well as physical effects after a cancer diagnosis. This may include dealing with difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, or anger, or dealing with uncertainty about the future. Sometimes, patients have problems expressing how they feel to their loved ones, or people don’t know what to say in response.

Is melanoma treatable?

Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer, but the earlier we catch it, the higher the cure rate. Early (“thin”) melanomas carry an excellent prognosis if we find them and treat them early.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

FIND OUT HOW TO GET THE SKIN YOU WANT

CALL 0118 373 5198

How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
CONTACT MY STAFF

Give us a call on 0118 373 5198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

MEET WITH ME

I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about melanoma

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that arises from the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). In melanoma, the melanocytes multiply uncontrollably, and this results in skin cancer.

Melanoma rates in the UK have more than doubled since the 1990s. There are more than 15,000 instances of new melanoma in the UK per year. One of the most prevalent causes of melanoma is excessive ultraviolet light exposure. Most melanomas are caught at an early stage and are therefore treatable.

You might notice that pre-existing mole has started to change in size, shape and or colour.

More commonly, a new pigmented lesion may arise that is continually changing.

The colour may become darker, and eventually black, though sometimes change consists of new red areas within the lesion, or loss of pigment.

The shape might change, with new extra bits growing, resulting in an irregular outline.

A lesion might become lumpy where it was previously completely flat.

You might notice symptoms such as bleeding, pain or itching.

When pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) abnormally proliferate, this can result in melanoma.

Risk factors include:

  • excessive ultraviolet light exposure; especially short bursts of intense exposure
  • a history of severe sunburn with blisters, especially in childhood
  • sunbed use
  • pale skin that burns quickly
  • freckles
  • red hair
  • increasing age
  • previous melanoma
  • a strong family history of melanoma with two or more 1st-degree relatives affected
  • a large number of moles, with some being atypical, that is irregular in shape or colour
  • people with compromised immune systems

In addition to a careful examination of the suspicious lesion that you might be worried about, I will offer you a full skin check. I will examine all your moles and freckles.

I tend to examine many moles and freckles with the aid of a dermatoscope. That allows me to gain an understanding of what your moles usually look like and can provide invaluable information to me when examining the suspicious lesion that you have come to see me about.

If the lesion displays any suspicious features on clinical and dermoscopic examination, I will offer to remove it for you to send this off for a biopsy.

The vast majority of lesion removals can take place on the same day as your consultation to avoid delay.

The first step in treatment consists of removing the pigmented lesion with a narrow margin of healthy skin around it to send the suspicious lesion off for a biopsy.

I can often perform this on the same day as your consultation, with the use of a local anaesthetic.

These initial biopsy results will guide the type of treatment I recommend. The kind of treatment I offer will depend on the stage of melanoma. We can generally determine the stage of melanoma through the biopsy and a clinical examination.

Sometimes, you will need more specialised tests including scans or sampling of the lymph nodes (sentinel lymph node biopsy).

Stage one and two melanoma refers to melanoma that remains within the skin.

Stage three and four melanoma refers to melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body.

I generally treat stage one (thin) and stage two (thick) melanoma with a procedure known as a wide local excision. That involves removing the original scar from your biopsy along with a further margin of healthy skin from around the scar.

Stage three and stage four melanoma may require treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and medication (immunotherapy).

I always make such treatment recommendations in the context of a multidisciplinary team, which includes dermatologists, histopathologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists and radiologists.

It is important to note that, while melanoma can be serious, we detect most of them at the early stages and therefore we can very successfully treat them.

Following your treatment, I will follow up with you every three to six months, for a period of 1 to 5 years, depending on the stage of your condition.

I do this is to make sure that your original melanoma has not returned, to ensure that no other suspicious skin lesions are appearing, and to provide support and education. It is essential to check your skin on a regular basis to pick up any problems earlier than later, and I will advise you on how to do so.

“How can I prevent melanoma?”

The best way to reduce your risk of melanoma is to take proper sun precaution measures. That means avoiding excessive sun exposure, staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing and using a good quality sunblock.

Researchers have linked the use of sunbeds to an increased risk of melanoma. I advise you avoid them altogether.

“How can I catch melanoma early?”

You can do so by keeping an eye on your skin and getting yourself checked if you notice any changes to pre-existing moles or new suspicious pigmented lesions.

Whether you have a small or large amount of moles, it only takes 10 minutes to examine your whole skin on a monthly basis.

At a fundamental level, all you need is two mirrors, one in front of you and one at the back so that you can have a good look at all your moles and look for any changes in size, shape or colour and any new arising lesions.

It is often helpful to have a set of pictures depicting all your moles and where they are on your body.

This way, if you think that you have noticed a change in one of your moles, you can always check against your pictures.

Nowadays with the use of smartphones, this process has become much easier.

If you do notice any changes in your moles, then please seek the advice of your GP or a Dermatologist.

“What do I look for ?”

You are looking for any change in size, shape and colour. The easiest rule to follow is the A, B, C, D, E rule which stands for

  1. Asymmetry – one half is not the same as the other
  2. Border – the edges of the mole might look blurred or notched
  3. Colour – two or three different shades or a change in colour
  4. Diameter – a mole that it at least 6 mm in diameter or one that is enlarging
  5. Expert – if you or your GP are concerned about a new or changing mole then please get your skin checked out by a Consultant Dermatologist.

“Is melanoma treatable?”

Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer, but the earlier we catch it, the higher the cure rate. Early (“thin”) melanomas carry an excellent prognosis if we find them and treat them early.

Affiliations and memberships

I AM PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS

Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

How can you prevent rosacea?

Dr Penelope Pratsou discusses whether it is possible to prevent rosacea flare-ups and if lifestyle modifications can help to protect your skin. 

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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