Melanoma is a potentially serious type of skin cancer.
Melanoma is caused by the changes in cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are what produce skin pigments called melanin, which is responsible for the appearance of your skin colour.
This type of skin cancer is now the third most common malignancy in Australia for both sexes, behind colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.
If detected early, most melanomas are curable. If they are not detected until later, they can become more serious.
At Melbourne City Dermatology, our dermatologists are committed to early detection of skin cancers including melanoma, and keep up to date with the latest trials and research.
We see patients with no prior history of skin cancer to perform preventative checks, and also manage patients long term with a history of melanoma in the family, those who have had melanomas removed. Many of our patients are referred by their GP with a lesion of concern and require diagnosis.
Melanoma requires surgical treatment, which is usually performed in our well equipped and modern surgical facility on site. Occasionally, in the case of advanced or complex melanoma we may co-ordinate your surgery with the Victorian Melanoma Service or a plastic surgeon.
Risk Factors for Melanoma
Anyone can develop skin cancer, however the risks are higher for those that have:
- A history of repeat sunburns and blistering
- A history of close family members that have had melanoma
- Previously used solariums
- Increased number of moles
- Unusual looking moles
- Fair skin which easily burns, freckles and never tans
The ABCDE Guide for Melanoma
The most important warning signs to look out for in melanomas are new lesions or if any spots change in colour, size, or shape.
- (A) Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- (B) Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- (C) Colour: The colour is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
- (D) Diameter: The spot is larger than 5 millimetres across, although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
- (E) Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or colour.