Malignant melanoma is a rapidly progressing, metastatic form of cancer involving the melanocytes. Early recognition of the tumor is essential because the patient’s chance of survival is increased with early treatment.
Malignant melanomas differ in shape and size, and they can appear anywhere on the body. They present with irregular borders, uneven surfaces, and black or brown discoloration. At times, these lesions bleed and/or ulcerate. The surrounding area is typically red, inflamed, and tender.
All suspected melanoma tumors are surgically excised, along with at least a 3-mm margin of healthy surrounding tissue, to ensure no metastases are present.
Treatment measures are dependent upon the severity of the tumor, the location, and its clinical presentation. Skin grafts may be required to repair the deep and wide excisions used to remove the cancer. Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy may be initiated if the disease metastasizes.