Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 3 May 2021
Melanoma Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a condition in which the cells of the skin develop abnormally. It mostly appears in locations that are exposed to the light, but it may also appear in areas that are not necessarily exposed to the sun.
Melanoma is a cancer that starts in the cells that give the skin its pigment. Melanocytes are the name for these cells. Melanocytes may develop benign moles that can become cancerous.
They can develop in any part of your body. These moles are most prone to appear on the chest and back in males. These moles are more likely to appear on the legs of women.
When melanomas are detected and treated early, they can usually be treated. They can spread to other areas of the body and become more difficult to manage if left untreated. Melanomas are more likely than basal and squamous cell carcinomas to spread.
12 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Melanoma
If you have just been diagnosed with melanoma, remember to ask your doctor the following questions:
- What is the extent of my melanoma's spread? How have you determined this?
- Is it possible to remove all of the cancer with only surgery?
- What therapies do you recommend for me if I don't need surgery, and why?
- In cases like mine, how successful have these treatments been?
- What are the possible side effects of my treatments? What would I do to manage these side effects?
- How long will these treatments be required?
- Will there be a visible scar after my surgery? Is it possible to keep scarring to a minimum?
- Am I at a high risk of melanoma recurrence? What do I do to avoid this happening again?
- Am I at a higher risk of developing other cancers?
- When can I come back to see you for a follow-up? Is there something I should be on the lookout for in between visits?
- What is the stage of my melanoma?
- Do I need to undergo any additional tests?
Referenced on 27/4/2021
- Cancer stat facts: Melanoma of the skin. (2020).
- Domingues B, et al. (2018). Melanoma treatment in review. DOI:
- Key statistics for melanoma skin cancer. (2020).
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Melanoma.
- Melanoma treatment. (2020).
- Treatment of melanoma skin cancer, by stage. (2019).
- What is melanoma skin cancer? (2019).
- Are some people more likely to get skin damage from the sun? (2017).
- Cancer facts & figures. (2018).
- Cancer stat facts: melanoma of the skin. (n.d.).
- If you find something suspicious on your skin. (2017).
- Living as a melanoma skin cancer survivor. (2016).
- Melanoma Research Foundation website: ''Preparing for Your Melanoma Doctor's Visit.''