About Melanoma

What is Melanoma?

Superficial spreading melanoma

Nodular melanoma with small quantity of pigment

Melanoma accounts for 10% of all skin cancers. It is an aggressive tumor that readily metastasizes so it is of paramount importance to diagnose and treat these lesions as early as possible.

It can occur anywhere in the body but it has a predilection for female legs and the male chest.

The main types of malignant melanoma skin cancers are:

*    Superficial spreading melanoma
*    Nodular melanoma
*    Lentigo maligna melanoma
*    Acral lentiginous melanoma

There are many other causes and risks of skin cancer.  It is important to note that it can occur in anyone, even people who have a naturally darker skin tone.

Rather be proactive and work through our frequently asked questions and take note of all our melanoma pictures.

Should you have any sores that do not want to heal or have an itchy or sore mole, consult with a doctor as soon as possible.  Malignant melanoma can strike anyone at anytime.

Melanoma Symptoms

It is important to familiarise oneself with melanoma symptoms.  As with any skin cancer early detection will improve the success of the treatment.

The skin cancer can sprout from a pre-existing mole or appear as a new lesion usually as a brown or black lesion with the darker colour at the edge.  However, in rare occasions it can also be pink.

The melanoma pictures on this page can show you what to look out for when suspecting skin cancer.

These lesions first grow in size and then they become thicker.   It is important to treat them before this occurs.

Individuals should be cautious and continue to check their own bodies, their partner’s as well as their children’s bodies for any irregularity with existing moles or spots.

Any mole that changes in size, shape, colour, becomes itchy and /or bleeds has to be investigated as soon as possible.

A type of skin cancer called lentigo maligna or hutchinson’s freckle, appears most commonly in females faces.  This melanoma appears as a large brown patch and could be present for a long time before it becomes invasive.  It is essential to diagnose and treat these lesions before they change.

Annual skin cancer screenings are necessary even if you do not have the melanoma symptoms or suspect skin cancer.

If you do believe that you might have melanoma symptoms, consult with a skin cancer expert as a matter of urgency.

Melanoma Treatment

Melanoma treatment depends on the stage of the skin cancer and how deep it has grown.

The various stages of melanoma include:

*    Metastatic melanoma
*    Benign melanoma; and
*    Malignant melanoma

The treatment of choice is surgical by removing the lesion with an ample margin of three to five centimetres.  The reason for this wide margin si to ensure that all cancer cells, even those that are not visible to the naked eye are removed.

Usually, the defect is repaired with a skin graft.

Small melanomas diagnosed early have a very good prognosis but the prognosis becomes poorer with the size of the lesion.

Time is very important for the prognosis of melanoma, therefore rapid consultation, diagnosis and treatment makes an enormous difference to the outcome of this disease.

Other types of skin cancers include:

*    Squamous cell carcinoma
*    Benign moles
*    Basal cell carcinoma