Petra Rietschel, MD: Fighting Melanoma

Petra Rietschel, MD knows an awful lot about melanoma. The German native has spent nearly her entire adult life combating the disease. With board certifications in oncology, hematology, and internal medicine, the doctor is highly qualified to advise survivors, sufferers, and the populace about the dangers of this aggressive disease.



Melanoma is an extremely aggressive skin cancer. It is quick to spread – or metastasize – to other areas of the body and form secondary tumors. Secondary tumors are often more dangerous than the original, as metastatic cells circulating in the bloodstream are difficult to detect. Before they can be detected, they have often implanted elsewhere in the body. Patients suffering from secondary melanomas often present with large tumors that are seen on CT or MRI scans.

Melanomas can develop anywhere on the body, and exposure to the sun is commonly associated with them. A few signs that you may have developed a melanoma include the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. The same is true of new pigmentation or growth on the skin. Many doctors, like Petra Rietschel, MD, subscribe to the ABCDE method of diagnosis:

ñ    ASYMETTRICAL [A] refers to moles which are irregular or unusual in shape. Normal moles are symmetrical and uniform.

ñ    BORDER [B] refers to specific irregularities in the border of a mole, such as notched or scalloped edges. These are characteristic of melanomas.

ñ    CHANGES [C] refers to color, including different colors or uneven color distribution may signify melanoma.

ñ    DIAMETER [D] refers to any mole over 6mm (1/4”) in diameter, which is unusual and should be checked.

ñ    EVOLVING [E] moles may be a sign of danger. Developing scaliness, itchiness, bleeding, spreading of color, or oozing are all potential signs of melanoma.


Petra Rietschel, MD is Taking the Fight to Cancer.

A native of Germany, Pietra Rietschel, MD earned her MD and PhD from the University of Heidelberg. She completed a residency at Harvard Medical through Massachusetts General Hospital. She is currently the Director of the Melanoma/Sarcoma program at Montefiore Einstein Cancer Care Center.


Petra Rietschel, MD is the lead on a number of melanoma research projects. The multidisciplinary  approach to cancer treatment at Montefiore has been called groundbreaking. Additionally, Petra Rietschel, MD's holistic lifestyle plan helps patients maintain their full quality of life. Petra Rietschel, MD believes that early detection, awareness, and research hold the key to defeating melanoma. 

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    November 2012