What is Melanoma ?

Malignant melanoma is a form of cancer that develops from cells of the base layer layer of the skin called melanocytes. The frequency of melanoma has been growing in recent years.Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer caused by melanocytesof the skin and it easily gives metastases to other organs of the body.The metastases of melanoma can occur either through the lymph nodeslocated in the neck, armpits, groin, abdomen or through hematogenous dispersion.

The first clinical picture that raises suspicion for melanoma is the abrupt change of the color and shape of a nevus.An nevus can exist from birth or appearlater. Most people have 10-30 nevi in their body. At 30% the melanoma willappear by changing the image of an existing nevus in sizeand color. That is a criterion to visit the dermatologist for a properclinical diagnosis. In the remaining 70% it will appear in a new nevus.

 People with many nevi should regularly visittheir dermatologist for dermatological examination of their moles, as well aspeople with a family history of melanoma. The sun radiation (ultravioletradiation) is mainly responsible for the appearance of melanoma. Peoplewith light skin type show melanoma much more often due to lack of melanin. People with dark skin type show it much less frequently due tothe melanin they have and protects them.

 A visit to the dermatologist plays a crucial role for an early diagnosis of the disease. The melanoma is removed by the dermatologist or general surgeon or plastic surgeon and a special examination is performed by the pathologist withmicroscope for tumor staging and treatment.

 Early diagnosis as well as immediate removal of melanoma play a catalytic role forthe good prognosis of the disease.