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Melanoma - The Facts


Melanoma appears as a mole or freckle that changes in colour, size or shape or can appear as a new mole or spot on the skin. Melanoma is usually more than one colour e.g. black, brown, red, grey or white, and has an irregular/blurred edge.

Melanoma grows over weeks to months anywhere on the body (not just the areas regularly exposed to UVR (Ultra Violet Radiation).

  • Is the most deadly form of skin cancer

  • Is one of the few cancers to affect young adults

  • Melanoma is the second most common cancer amongst 15-34 years old

  • A person's risk of developing melanoma increases with age

  • More men than women develop malignant melanoma

  • Mortality is higher in men, particularly those aged 50 years and over

  • It primarily affects white skinned people in whom the incidence increases with age

  • On white men it is most commonly found on the face and back, and on white women it is most commonly found on the limbs



Identification of suspect mole (changes in size, shape asymmetry, colour)  

If you have a melanoma you will need surgery to remove it










If your doctor thinks your cancer may have spread you will need further tests.After surgery you may be referred to an oncologist (Cancer Specialist). If the cancer has spread you may need treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or drugs that boost your immune system.



The risk of developing melanoma is increased in people who:

  • Have fair complexions

  • Have freckles or a large number of moles

  • Have blue eyes

  • Have red or blonde hair

  • Have a history or severe childhood/adolescent sunburn

  • Have a family history of skin cancer