DERMATOLOGY SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA

For Patients

Melanoma

Introduction To Melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in western societies where light coloured skin and outdoor lifestyles dominate. Unfortunately it is growing even more common with modern lifestyles and changes in the environment. Melanoma is the most rapidly increasing major cancer in these communities. This site offers a comprehensive overview of the issues that face health care professionals and sufferers from this common and, often, misunderstood disease.

Pictures of Melanoma

Large size

Most melanomas are at least 5 millimetres (about 1/4 inch) across when they are found;
many are much larger. An unusually large mole may be melanoma.
Many colours

A mixture of tan, brown, white, pink, red, gray, blue, and especially black in a mole suggests melanoma.
 
Irregular border

If a mole has an edge that is irregular or notched, it may be melanoma.
 
Abnormal surface If a mole is scaly, flaky, oozing, or bleeding, has an open sore that does not heal, or has a hard lump in it, it may be melanoma.
 
Unusual sensation If a mole itches or is painful or tender, melanoma may be present.
 
Abnormal skin around mole If colour from the mole spreads into the skin around it or if this skin becomes red or loses its colour (becomes white or gray), melanoma may be present.