Malignant Melanoma

What is malignant melanoma?

Melanoma is one of the most serious form of skin cancer affecting the cells that produce dark protective pigment called melanin.

What does melanoma look like?

Melanoma lesions may appear as a dark brown, black or multi-colored growth with irregular borders that can become crusted and bleed.

The ABCs of melanoma include:
AAsymmetry: One half does not match the other half
BBorder irregularity: The edges are notched or ragged
CColor: Varied shades of tan, black and brown
DDiameter: Greater than 6 millimeters
EEvolving: Significant change in size, shape, or shade of color

Who is likely to develop melanoma and where?

Melanoma can affect anyone at any age and anywhere on the body. However, people with fair skin, light hair and eye color, or a family/personal history of melanoma have an increased risk of developing melanoma. People with dark complexions tend to develop melanoma on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, under nails and in the mouth.

The tumors can arise in or near an existing mole or may appear without warning. Melanoma may spread to other organs.

What treatment options are available?

Your doctor will biopsy the area in question and send to a lab for examination. If the skin sample is positive for melanoma, your dermatologist will discuss several treatment options with you.

The treatment prescribed for you is based on:
– Location of tumor
– How much the tumor has spread
– The agressiveness of the tumor
– Your overall health

Treatment interventions include:
– Surgical removal
– Mohs Micrographic Surgery
– Chemotherapy
– Radiation
Sometimes lymph nodes are removed.