Melanoma Causes Symptoms Types And Treatment

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It involves the cells that produce the skin pigment melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin and hair color. Melanoma can also involve the colored part of the eye. (See also skin cancer and melanoma of the eye.)

A malignant melanoma is just one type of skin cancer. Compared to other forms of skin cancer, a malignant melanoma has a high risk of spreading to other parts of the body so you should get any unusual changes in your skin checked by your GP as early as possible.

Types of Melanoma

Nodular melanoma occurs most often on the chest or back. It is most commonly found in middle-aged people. It tends to grow deeper into the skin quite quickly if it is not removed. This type of melanoma is often raised above the rest of the skin surface and feels like a bump. It may be very dark brown-black or black.
Superficial, spreading or flat: grows outwards at first to form an irregular pattern on the skin with an uneven colour

Lento Malina melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with intermixed areas of brown.
Accrual melanoma is usually found on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or around the toenails.


It is not certain how all cases of melanoma develop. However, it is clear that excessive sun exposure, especially severe blistering sunburns early in life, can promote melanoma development. There is evidence that ultraviolet radiation used in indoor tanning equipment may cause melanoma. The risk for developing melanoma may also be inherited.


The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole on the skin. These changes can be remembered as "ABCD":
Asymmetry - An odd shape or one half is shaped differently from the other
Border - ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular outline
Color - different shades of black, brown, and tan in the same mole; there may also be patches of white, gray, red, pink, or blue in it

Can melanomas spread?

Yes. At the start, a melanoma is thin and lies on the surface of the skin. It can be easily removed at this stage. However, if it's left to become thick, it grows down into the skin and spreads.

How is it treated?

Treatment for melanoma begins with the surgical removal of the melanoma and some normal-looking skin around the growth. Removal of the normal-looking skin is known as taking margins, and is done to be sure no melanoma is left behind. Early melanoma limited to the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) is known as melanoma in Stu (in place), and simple surgical removal produces virtually a 100 percent cure rate. If left untreated, the melanoma grows deeper in the skin and is more likely to produce a life-threatening situation.

Chemotherapy - to kill cancer cells that have spread throughout the body
Immunotherapy - interferon-Alf and interleukin-2 may be given to help the body's immune system prevent a recurrence of the melanoma.

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