What is it?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body. Melanoma happens when some cells in the skin (the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes) begin to grow out of control.
The primary cause of melanoma is ultraviolet light (UV) exposure. The UV light may be from the sun or other sources, such as tanning devices. Those with many moles or freckles, pale skin, bright hair and eyes, a history of affected family members and a condition of immune suppresion are at greater risk of having a melanoma.
Melanomas can appear anywhere on your body, but they most commonly appear on the back, legs, arms and face. They may sometimes develop underneath a nail.

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Melanoma of Skin.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Skin Melanoma
- Skin Cancer

Signs & symptoms

The first sign of a melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
A helpful way to tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma is the ABCDE checklist:
* Asymmetrical – if a lesion is bisected, one half on a melanoma is not identical to the other half
* Border – melanomas usually have border irregularity.
* Color – melanomas will usually be a mix of 2 or more colors.
* Diameter – melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter.
* Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of melanoma will usually begin with an examination of your skin by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. If your doctor suspects a melanoma, they will biopsy the suspicious site. A skin biopsy is a procedure perfomed under local anesthesia.
If cancer is confirmed, Further tests will be carried out if there is a concern the cancer has spread into other organs:
* lymph node biopsy – to determine whether microscopic amounts of melanoma might have spread to the lymph nodes.
* Imaging studies – CT, MRI, or PET-CT to look for other metastases.

Treatment

when cancer is confirmed, you may need a further operation to remove a wider area of skin. Additional treatment depends on the stage of your melanoma, or how far melanoma has grown into the skin and whether it has spread. Treatment may include:
* surgery to remove affected lymph nodes or other metastases
* radiathion therapy
* chemotherapy
* biological therapy – medications that modulate the immune system to help the body fight cancer, or attack specific cancer cells, which may help keep them from growing or kill them.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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