Melanoma

Melanoma, a type of skin cancer that develops from melanocytes, is known for being more aggressive than other skin cancers due to its potential to spread to distant parts of the body, if not detected early. It can develop either as a new lesion, or as an existing mole that undergoes cancerous change.

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Key Points

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in the melanocytes. It can appear as a changing mole or as a new lesion that changes in color, size, or texture. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, not just in sun-exposed areas.

Who gets melanoma?

Individuals with fair skin, a high number of moles, a history of sunburns, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk. However, melanoma can affect people of all skin types.

Clinical features

Melanomas typically appear as a new dark spot on the skin or involve changes in an existing mole. The ABCDE rule (Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6mm, Evolving size, shape, or color) assists in identifying suspicious features of melanomas.

Diagnosis and differential diagnosis

Diagnosis involves a thorough skin examination and a biopsy of suspicious lesions. Differential diagnosis includes benign moles, seborrheic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Impact and complications

Melanoma can be serious due to its potential to spread to other body parts, such as the brain, bones, and liver. Early detection and treatment significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome.

Breslow thickness, Clark Level and Stages of melanoma

Treatment options for melanoma

Wide local excision (a bigger safety margin cut) is the primary treatment for early-stage melanomas, where the width of excision depends on the Breslow thickness, with wider margins for thicker melanomas. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed to check for the spread of cancer in cases of intermediate or thick melanomas. Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells, while targeted therapy is used for melanomas with specific genetic mutations. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also used in advanced or metastatic melanoma. Early-stage melanoma generally has a high cure rate with the need of regular skin checks, whereas advanced melanoma requires ongoing treatment and close monitoring.

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I have been to the clinic a couple of times now and I highly recommend. The reception staff are always friendly and welcoming, Fantastic in regards to the laser procedure, very informative and helpful, overall, always a great experience. I have tried other clinics in the past but haven't found one that compares to Melbourne Skin & Dermatology, hence why I continue to return.
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Amazing smooth experience. All the staff were amazing, helpful, and professional. Treatment process was quick and easy. Highly recommend Melbourne Skin & Dermatology in Rowville.
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Listened and accommodated to my skin issues, made me feel comfortable and staff were extremely friendly and comforting.
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