Book Appt. Call Now
  • Find a doctor
  • Send a query
  • Book an Appointment
  • Second Opinion

Send a Query

Book an Appointment

Ask for a Second Opinion

Home >> Specialities >> Cancer Care >> Melanoma


Melanoma, often referred to as the deadliest form of skin cancer, arises from the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. While it accounts for a relatively small percentage of skin cancer cases, melanoma is responsible for a disproportionately high number of skin cancer-related deaths. Understanding its causes, risk factors, early detection, and treatment options is crucial for effectively managing this potentially life-threatening disease.

Types of Melanoma:
There are several subtypes of melanoma, each with distinct characteristics and growth patterns:
Superficial Spreading Melanoma: This is the most common type, characterized by irregularly shaped lesions with an asymmetrical appearance. It tends to spread superficially before penetrating deeper layers.
Nodular Melanoma: This type grows more rapidly and presents as a raised, dome-shaped bump. It often lacks the characteristic irregularities seen in other subtypes.
Lentigo Maligna Melanoma: Typically found in older adults, this subtype arises from sun-damaged skin and often appears as a flat, discolored patch.
Acral Lentiginous Melanoma: This form is less related to UV exposure and is commonly found on the palms, soles, or under the nails. It often appears as a dark spot or streak.
Amelanotic Melanoma: Unlike other melanomas, this subtype lacks the characteristic pigmentation, making it harder to detect visually.

Causes and Risk Factors:
The primary cause of melanoma is prolonged and excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. UV radiation can damage the DNA within skin cells, leading to genetic mutations that trigger uncontrolled cell growth and the development of melanoma.
Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing melanoma:

  • Excessive Sun Exposure: Intense or long-term exposure to UV radiation without proper protection increases the risk.
  • Fair Skin: Individuals with fair skin, light-colored hair, and blue or green eyes are more susceptible to UV damage.
  • Family History: A family history of melanoma or other skin cancers can elevate the risk.
  • Personal History: Previous cases of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers increase the likelihood of developing new melanomas.
  • Weakened Immune System: Conditions or treatments that suppress the immune system, such as organ transplants or certain medications, can increase susceptibility.
  • Atypical Moles: Having many atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) or large congenital moles can elevate the risk.
  • Age: While melanoma can occur at any age, the risk increases with age, especially in older adults.

Symptoms and Early Detection:
Early detection is paramount for effective treatment and survival in melanoma cases. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Change in Moles: Changes in the color, size, shape, or texture of an existing mole can be a warning sign.
  • New or Unusual Growths: The appearance of a new, irregularly shaped, or multi-colored growth on the skin should be evaluated.
  • Asymmetry: Melanomas are often asymmetrical, with one half looking different from the other.
  • Border Irregularity: The edges of a melanoma may be uneven, scalloped, or notched.
  • Color Variation: Melanomas can display multiple colors, including black, brown, tan, red, white, or blue.
  • Diameter: Melanomas are typically larger than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser), but can be smaller.
  • Evolution: Any changes in size, shape, color, elevation, or symptoms of a mole or growth should be promptly evaluated.

Treatment Options:
Treatment for melanoma depends on the stage, location, and overall health of the individual. Common approaches include:

  • Surgery: This is the primary treatment for early-stage melanomas, involving the removal of the tumor and a surrounding margin of healthy tissue.
  • Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy: These therapies help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy: It may be used to target and kill cancer cells, particularly when surgery is not possible.
  • Chemotherapy: While less effective in melanoma than other cancers, it may be used in advanced cases.
  • Clinical Trials: Participation in research studies can provide access to cutting-edge treatments.

In conclusion, melanoma is a potentially lethal form of skin cancer, but early detection and appropriate treatment significantly improve outcomes. Understanding its causes, risk factors, and the importance of regular skin checks is essential for prevention and early intervention. By adopting sun-safe practices and promptly seeking medical attention for any suspicious changes on the skin, individuals can take proactive steps towards reducing their risk of melanoma and ensuring timely treatment if it does occur.

Our Doctors

SHALBY Sanar International Hospitals provides extensive medical procedures backed up with our state-of-the-art technology and a team of highly qualified & experienced clinical experts.

Patient Testimonials



Our doctors pen down their research findings and experiences from time to time. Their words provide deep insight into the latest techniques, technologies and other advancements in healthcare. It provides expert answers to all kinds of health questions for real-life issues.


Latest News & Events

Since the day of its foundation, SHALBY Sanar International Hospitals is committed to provide comprehensive healthcare services. It regularly organizes awareness programs in its premises and encourages outdoor healthcare activities and camps with an intent to put focus on preventive healthcare.