What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the least common form of Skin Cancer but the most dangerous. It develops from melanocytes- the cells that produce the brown pigment in skin. Melanomas can spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body.
It’s very important therefore that changing moles are examined and assessed by a Dermatologist with expertise in Skin Cancer like Dr Ghura at the earliest opportunity so that treatment can be given as soon as possible if needed.
What causes Melanoma and Who’s at risk?
Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sunbeds is one of the most important causes of Melanoma.
Those at risk include:
- People who burn easily
- People who have a lot of moles
- People who have a close family member with Melanoma
What does a Melanoma look like?
Melanomas usually come from moles that a person already has. That is why its important to check your skin regularly (every 1-2 months) and look for changes in moles.
The 3 important changes to look out for are:
- Moles that are getting bigger
- Moles that are changing colour
- Moles that are changing shape
How is Melanoma treated?
Thankfully most Melanomas are thin and caught at an early stage and treated very successfully. The thinner the Melanoma, the greater the chance of cure. If the diagnosis of melanoma is delayed, this gives the Melanoma more chance to become thicker and potentially spread. This is why its important to see a Skin Cancer expert like Dr Ghura as quickly as possible.
The most important treatment for Melanoma is to cut it out fully. Dr Ghura normally does this under local anaesthetic as an outpatient or daycase procedure. If the mole that has been removed is confirmed by the pathologist as a Melanoma, Dr Ghura will undertake a second procedure to remove more skin around the scar to ensure no remains of the Melanoma are left- Wider Local Excision (WLE).
Once the Melanoma has been successfully removed by Dr Ghura no further treatment is usually required and most patients do not need radiotherapy or chemotherapy.