Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, which arises from the pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin. In melanoma skin cancer, the melanocytes become malignant and multiply excessively.
Malignant melanoma causes
One of the most important causes of melanoma is exposure to too much ultraviolet light in sunlight. The use of artificial sources of ultraviolet light, such as sunbeds, also increases the risk of getting a melanoma.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it is more likely to spread (metastasise) from the skin to other parts of the body than other types of skin cancer. If melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, those deposits are known as secondary melanoma (secondaries/metastases).
Malignant melanoma risk factors include:
- fair skin that burns easily in the sun
- multiple freckles
- history of severe sunburn
- history of excess sunbed use
- previous and family history of melanoma
- multiple atypical naevi (skin lesions)
- a very large dark birthmark
- a weakened immune system
- Malignant melanoma prognosis
Although a diagnosis of melanoma can be serious, we catch most melanomas at an early stage so they do not cause any further problem. If we don’t catch lesions at the early stages then there is a higher risk of the melanoma spreading, which can reduce life expectancy.
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People with melanoma are usually cured by the initial surgery. There is a 5-year survival rate which tells you what percentage of people live 5 years after the cancer is found, that is, how many out of 100. Amongst all people with melanoma of the skin, from the time of the initial diagnosis, the 5-year survival is 92%.