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 Home > Skin Cancer Clinic > Types of Skin Cancer > Melanoma

A Rapidly Lethal Cancer

Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer. Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

Melanoma can be obvious
Or not so obvious

Melanoma — Who is at Risk?

Melanoma usually occurs in fair skinned people who have one or more of the following risk factors
  • Sun exposure, particularly during childhood
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Blistering sunburn, especially when young
  • Previous melanoma
  • Previous BCC or SCC
  • Family history of melanoma, especially if two or more members are affected
  • Large numbers of moles (especially if there are more than 100)
  • Abnormal moles (dysplastic naevi)

Appearance of Melanoma — The ABCD of Melanoma Detection

Look for Danger Signs in Pigmented Lesions of the Skin using the ABCD method below.
Consult your Skin Clinic or GP immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:

Asymmetry - one half unlike the other half.
Border irregular - scalloped or poorly circumscribed border.
Colour Variation: From one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black, sometimes white, red or blue.
Diameter larger than 5mm (diameter of a pencil).

Treatment of Melanoma

The only treatment for melanoma is complete removal by surgical excision. The tumour is removed as an ellipse (oval) of skin, together with a wide margin of normal skin to ensure complete removal. The skin edges are sutured together, resulting in a linear scar that usually several times longer than the width of the original lesion. Occasionally a specialized skin procedure called a Skin Flap or Skin Graft is used to close the skin. If this is needed the doctor will discuss this with you prior to the procedure.

Most early melanomas do not need extensive surgery and can be excised here at the clinic, avoiding the need for costly and inconvenient specialist referrals. However your treating doctor will not hesitate to refer you to a specialist surgeon if your melanoma excision warrants it.

The WA Melanoma Advisory Service (WAMAS) provides annual guidelines on the Surgical Treatment of Melanoma which are strictlly adhered to by the doctors of the Skin & Mole Clinic.

Non Invasive Treatments Because this is a potentially lethal tumour, non invasive skin cancer treatments such as Aldara and PDT are never used for melanoma.

After Treatment for Melanoma

Patients with a treated melanoma are at increased risk of developing further melanomas. They are also at increased risk of other skin cancers, especially BCC and SCC.

We will arrange a complete skin examination every 6 months for the first two years, and annually thereafter. Ask your doctor to check any persisting or growing lumps or sores or otherwise odd-looking skin lesions. Early detection means easier treatment, and less scarring.

Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Stay indoors or under the shade in the middle of the day. Wear covering clothing. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen to exposed skin if you are outdoors for prolonged periods, especially during the summer months.

Pensioners, Veterans and Children BULK BILLED.
Conditions apply, please call us for more information.

Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer. Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

Early Detection can save your life.