Melanoma, a form of skin cancer

Everyone has them moles. One a little more than the other. Some stand out and irritate you, others don’t bother you and are part of life. But sometimes a mole is worse than you expect. It may be an accumulation of pigment cells that carry a form of skin cancer called Melanoma.

What is a Melanoma?

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that occurs in the pigment cells in the skin. A melanoma is an aggressively growing malignant tumor that can quickly cause metastases.

Who Gets Melanoma?

Many forms of cancer often occur in old age. This is different with Melanoma. Melanoma is a tumor that often occurs in young patients. Melanoma can also be a disease that runs in the family and can therefore be hereditary.

What are the most important risk factors?

  • People with a very fair skin type have a greater risk.
  • If you were regularly sunburned before the age of 5, you also have a higher risk of melanoma later in life.
  • Birthmarks. Some moles can quickly develop into melanoma. These are mainly the A Typical moles. These are birthmarks that differ from a “standard” birthmark. You can think of: larger than 8 cm, change of color, etc.


What are the symptoms?

Melanomas develop in existing moles. This causes the birthmark to change. The changes include:

  • Change of color. The birthmark suddenly develops dark areas or light clarifications.
  • Change in shape. You can think of a mole that becomes thicker. A melanoma may be developing here.
  • Itch
  • Pain
  • Bleed
  • It is not the case that you should experience these symptoms when a melanoma is developing.


The treatment

If the GP determines that melanoma may be present, the patient will be referred to the dermatologist. This will surgically remove the melanoma. The melanoma is sent for further examination and a treatment plan is drawn up based on this. The thinner the melanoma, the better the chances of survival. If there is indeed a melanoma, the lymph nodes will also be examined. If there are any metastases, they will first settle in the lymph nodes. These will therefore be surgically removed and are then often treated with radiation.


The chances of survival are difficult to predict. If the melanoma has been removed and there are no metastases, the chances are 100%. However, when there are metastases it is very difficult to say what the chances are. It is true that if there are metastases, they are often malignant metastases, which means that the chance of survival becomes increasingly smaller.

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