Melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer than BCCs and SCCs, but accounts for a relatively higher proportion of skin cancers seen in young adults. It is dangerous because of its ability to spread throughout the body and may be fatal. Fortunately, it is nearly always curable when diagnosed and treated early.
Most melanomas start in the top layer of the skin and slowly spread outwards within the top layer of skin before moving into the deeper layers where the cancer cells can enter the lymph channels and bloodstream.
Melanomas should be suspected if there is a changing mole or new onset mole. They will enlarge over weeks to months but are rarely painful. Assessment of changing moles with illumination devices can aid in the diagnosis, but the diagnosis can only be made with 100% certainty after the excision of the lesion.
Treatment always involves surgery, but the extent of surgery depends on how advanced the melanoma is. Most melanomas do not require any other treatment but advanced melanomas may require additional tests and treatments.