Information on Melanoma

Information on Melanoma

Melanoma is a malignant (progressively worsening and potentially fatal) tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that exude a dark reddish pigment which gives skin color. Melanocytes most often reside in the skin.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and causes 75% of the deaths related to skin cancer.

Melanoma, as a form of cancer, is caused by irreparable damage to the DNA of a Melanocyte. Melanoma is often caused by too much exposure to UV light from the sun or from tanning salons.

A good way to remember the signs of melanoma is the mnemonic “ABCDE“.

  • Asymmetrical skin lesion
  • Border of the lesion is irregular
  • Color: Melanomas usually have multiple colors that are often red.
  • Diameter: Moles greater then 6 millimeters in diameter are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles.
  • Enlarging: If you notice a lesion or mole on your skin growing larger, you should see a Dermatologist soon.

If melanoma is caught early, it is easier to treat then if it begins to spread and there are multiple lesions on the body. Treatment varies greatly on the progress of the melanoma, but often a surgical removal is used if the lesion is small.