Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous of the three types of skin cancer (the other two are basal cell carcinoma, BCC, and squamous cell carcinoma, SCC) because it is – unlike other – often spreading (metastasizing) by the body.
This type of tumor develops from pigment containing cells known as melanocytes. As in the case of BCC and SCC, long-term exposure to strong sunlight may seem to play a role in the development of this disease, although it is, in a case of malignant melanoma, a less significant factor.
The most common symptom is the change of the mole, which is present on the body since childhood, in many ways. A mole can start to grow; it can become colorful or lighter or darker; a black edge can develop on the mole and spread to the surrounding skin; a mole may spontaneously bleed; a mole may start to itch. Another common symptom is the development of a new mole at any time after puberty. Sometimes bumps may appear on the skin – red or colored. Malignant melanoma can also develop in dark, improper scars that sometimes occur on the skin of older people. In most cases malignant melanoma develops on the skin exposed to the sun, but sometimes it occurs elsewhere, e.g. on the tabs.
This type of skin cancer is not as common as the first two. Malignant melanoma is extremely rare before adolescence – hence it is very unlikely that a child who got a new mole will suffer from this illness. Malignant melanoma is more common among middle-aged people or older people who have been exposed to severe sunlight most of their lives. For example, Australians are particularly sensitive to this type of skin cancer.
Since cancer can spread (hence the name of malignant melanoma), early detection, diagnosis and treatment are essential. Otherwise, the odds are weak.
What to do?
Mole change does not have to be malignant, but simply a result of some minor injury. Likewise, pigmentation changes in some places may be due to harmless skin conditions. However, if any of the symptoms described occurs to you, you should immediately see your doctor.
Although a doctor may consider that a mole or a bump is harmless, he may still decide to remove it and examine it under a microscope (biopsy) to detect signs of cancer cells. If this is confirmed by the diagnosis, the hospital’s treatment of melanoma will immediately start. Melanoma is cut with a wide excience (removal) of adjacent skin. At the same time, this place is covered with leather skirt. In some cases, radiotherapy or some other special forms of treatment are also applied.