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Melanoma

Malignant melanoma is a potentially serious type of skin cancer. It is due to uncontrolled growth of pigment cells, called melanocytes.

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Book a free spot check

Book a free spot check with one of our Doctors.

or call 0800 SKIN DR (754 637)
About

Normal melanocytes are found in the basal layer of the epidermis – the bottom part of the outer layer of the skin. The melanocytes produce a protein called melanin, which protects the skin by absorbing ultra violet (UV) radiation. Melanocytes are found in equal numbers in dark and white skin types but the melanocytes in dark skin produce much more melanin. People with dark brown or black skin are very much less likely to be damaged by UV radiation than those with white skin.

Non-cancerous growth of melanocytes causes common lesions like freckles and moles, whereas cancerous growth causes melanoma. There are different types of melanoma and if picked up early enough, melanoma can be cured.

Causes

The cause of skin cancer, like other forms of cancer, is not completely known. Excessive exposure to sunlight is the single most important factor associated with the development of skin cancers. Consequently, skin cancers most commonly develop on the face and the arms, the most sun-exposed parts of the body.

  • Sun exposure – Sunburns, especially in childhood, have been linked closely with basal cell carinoma, whereas cumulative sun exposure over many years is associated with the development of squamous cell carcinoma. The role of sunlight exposure in melanoma is less clear.
  • Genetics – Genetic predisposition for the occurrence of malignant melanoma is perhaps the most important risk factor. Individuals with fair hair (red or blonde), pale eyes (green or blue) and fair skin are at high risk of skin cancer.
  • Other possible causes – Other possible causes of skin cancer include X-rays, trauma, viruses, infection, smoking and certain chemicals.
Why Skin Institute?

At Skin Institute, we understand that skin cancer can be an intimidating diagnosis to come to terms with. Our multidisciplinary clinics are thoroughly experienced with skin cancer management – and our team of highly-qualified specialists will guide you through from diagnosis to treatment to a healthier tomorrow. You can rely on us to be at your side through the whole process.

Skin Institute is an Affiliated Provider to Southern Cross Health Society, and skin cancer treatments may be covered by medical insurance where criteria apply.


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Book a free spot check

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