Melanoma is a skin cancer where there is uncontrolled, cancerous growth of pigment cells. They have the ability to spread to other parts of the body, making this one of the most dangerous skin cancers.

Melanomas may present as a new lesion in normal looking skin (75% of melanomas), or as an existing mole that undergo change. Patients may notice that they change in colour, size and shape with an irregular outline in more than one colour. They may appear on any body area and may even include sun-unexposed areas.

The main risk factors for developing melanoma include:

  • White skin that burns easily
  • Previous skin cancers
  • Many moles
  • Multiple (>5) atypical moles
  • Strong family history of melanoma

Clinical features of melanoma

Most melanomas have characteristics described by the ABCDE’s of melanoma. The most common site in men is the back and in women is the leg.

The ABCDEs of Melanoma

A. Asymmetry
B. Border irregular
C. Colour variation
D. Diameter >6mm
E. Evolving (enlarge, change)

If you are concerned about a suspicious new lesion or an existing mole that changed, do make an URGENT appointment at your dermatologist