Melanin is a skin pigment, which is responsible for skin and hair color. Changes in cells that are known as melanocytes cause melanoma. These melanocytes usually begin as a change in an area such as a mole.
Signs of melanoma are moles, sores, lumps and or growths. Bleeding and or changes in skin pigmentation may also be signs. People who fall under these categories may have a higher risk of developing melanoma:
If your physician thinks you may have skin cancer, a skin biopsy will be performed and the sample will be sent off to a lab for testing. If your physician believes you may have melanoma, a sentinel lymph node biopsy may be performed to see if it has spread.
Surgery will be performed on the cancer and surrounding area. The depth of skin removed will be determined by the size of the melanoma. Sometimes the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes. These are removed. If the cancer has spread to other organs treatment becomes more challenging as the chances of success are statistically poor due to the difficulty of treating the cancer. Treatment options are listed below: