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Diagnosis

Melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, is a type of skin cancer. It's often caused by too much sun exposure.

The first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.

Melanoma can usually be treated with surgery if it's caught early. If it has spread, treatment may involve other treatments, like radiotherapy.

You cannot always prevent melanoma, but you can reduce your chances of getting it by taking care not to get sunburned.

Read more on the NHS website.

The first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.

Signs and symptoms of melanoma

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

This can occur anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women. 

Melanomas are uncommon in areas that are protected from sun exposure, such as the buttocks and the scalp.

In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour.

The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed.

Look out for a mole that changes progressively in shape, size or colour.

Read more on the NHS website.

Melanoma can usually be treated with surgery if it's caught early. If it has spread, treatment may involve other treatments, like radiotherapy.

Medical treatments

The main treatment for melanoma is surgery, although your treatment will depend on your circumstances.

If melanoma is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, surgery is usually successful.

If melanoma is not diagnosed until an advanced stage, treatment is mainly used to slow the spread of the cancer and reduce symptoms.

This usually involves medicines that target specific genetic changes in the melanoma, such as BRAF inhibitors, or medicines that boost the body's immune responses to the melanoma (so-called checkpoint therapies).

Once you have had melanoma, there's a chance it may return. This risk is increased if your cancer was more advanced or widespread.

If your cancer team feels there's a significant risk of your melanoma returning, you'll need regular check-ups to monitor your health.

You'll also be taught how to examine your skin and lymph nodes to help detect melanoma if it returns.

Read more on the NHS website.

You cannot always prevent melanoma, but you can reduce your chances of getting it by taking care not to get sunburned.

Read more on the NHS website.