Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment (color) in the skin, known as melanocytes. These cancerous cells can grow and spread quickly to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, and brain.
Malignant melanoma is often caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, and it is more commonly seen in individuals with fair skin, light-colored hair, and blue or green eyes. However, it can occur in anyone, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.
Symptoms of malignant melanoma may include a new, unusual, or changing mole on the skin, or an existing mole that has grown or changed in appearance. These moles may have irregular borders, uneven color, and be larger than 6mm in diameter. Itching, bleeding, or crusting may also occur.
Diagnosis is usually made through a biopsy of the suspicious mole or lesion, which is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist. Treatment for malignant melanoma typically involves surgical removal of the cancerous cells, often followed by additional therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.
Early detection and prevention are key in reducing the risk of developing malignant melanoma. This can be achieved by protecting the skin from UV radiation, regularly checking the skin for new or changing moles, and seeking medical attention if any suspicious changes are noticed.