Malignant Melanoma

melanomaNCIMelanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and can spread rapidly. Early detection is important in order to start treatment before it metastasizes. Anyone of any skin color can develop melanoma, though it is more common in fair-skinned people. A history of sunburns during a young age has been shown to increase the risk of developing this extreme form of skin cancer.

A common sign of melanoma is a change to the size, shape, or color of a mole, though not all melanomas develop in or near an existing mole. In some cases, a sudden, new growth on the skin can be melanoma.

Risk Factors

  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Light hair and light-colored eyes
  • Moles- Particularly if you have 50 to 100 or more and have any unusual or irregular looking moles that are typically larger in size
  • History of sunburns or indoor tanning use
  • Blood relatives who have had melanoma
  • A weak immune system due to disease, organ transplant, or certain medications
  • Previous history of melanoma or another skin cancer
  • 50 years of age or older

Performing a regular skin examination can help you recognize any changes to your skin or moles. If you notice any irregularities, contact a dermatologist right away.