There are two types of skin cancer: the malignant melanoma (mole cancer) and the non-melanoma class: basal cell carcinoma and the squamous carcinoma. There are thousands of people who develop this type of cancer every year and the main cause is represented by sun radiations and an excessive exposure to them. The malignant melanoma can appear in any person, regardless of age, however with a lower rate in children.

Malignant melanoma is a skin cancer that appears within the body’s pigmentary system, more precisely, in the superior skin layers mostly exposed to the sun. Although it’s not a rule, the malignant melanoma mostly appears in/near the melanocytic moles or nevi, but it can also develop in healthy skin areas. In certain very rare cases, the tumor can begin its development in the eyes, respiratory tract, intestines or in the brain.

Skin cancer is caused by excessive sun exposure, especially to UV radiations and so 80% of the cases can be prevented. The risk of developing melanoma increases following sunburn episodes, with a possible delay of a few years until its actual manifestation. A smaller number of cases are caused by hereditary factors, but even these are triggered by sun exposure. Although it is considered relatively rare, representing only 10% of the other types of cancer, the malignant melanoma is responsible for the most deaths caused by this condition.

Symptoms are rather obvious, being the most easily detectable type of cancer, nevertheless, most people ignore the signs or just aren’t properly informed about it. Thus, the American Cancer Society established 5 rules, ABCDE, which enable the monitoring and observation of potentially cancerous alterations that occur in atypical moles. First of all, the malignant melanoma can also appear in the healthy skin areas, being easily mistaken for typical moles. Hence, the moles or nevi that appear after the age of 25 must be closely monitored to avoid such future complications.

The 5 rules refer to Asymmetry: when the halves of a mole are unequal and do not correspond in shape; Borders: the margins become irregular and serrated, the Color changes, usually getting darker, towards black or changing in nuances, (not in all cases though), the Diameter modifies and the Evolution – all the above mentioned aspects manifest, plus an itching sensation accompanied by a reddening of the area, bleeding and pus. At this point, you must necessarily see a doctor or a dermatologist for a specialized check-up and an accurate diagnosis, so you can immediately start a treatment against a malignant melanoma, if it’s the case.

The malignant melanoma diagnosis is firstly performed through a visual skin examination with the help of the dermoscope, and if something suspicious comes up, a biopsy will be recommended and the sample tissue will be further sent to a lab to be examined by a pathologist. If detected in an early stage, the malignant melanoma can be easily treated. The standard procedure for a malignant melanoma is surgery whose extension is however determined by the thickness of the tumor and its spreading degree. The excision of the dysplastic nevus isn’t the only thing necessary, hence the surgeon will also remove some of the possibly affected adjacent tissues, as well as a certain quantity of fatty tissue from underneath. Interferon is generally prescribed after to reduce the risk of cancer reappearance.

A drug treatment is prescribed when the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body and surgery is no longer efficient, together with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

For a complimentary consultation regarding this matter, you can appeal to one of our doctors at Renew Skin & Health Clinic who will clarify any queries you might have concerning mole problems.