Melanoma develops from the pigment-producing cells in the skin but lesions sometimes can be pink with no apparent pigment and so any new or changing skin lesion should alert you to the possibility of a melanoma.
Any change in size, shape or colour can be a warning sign.
Melanoma is one of the most dangerous cancers and can spread throughout the body if it is not detected early. Treatments options are then very limited and so the important thing is to detect them early when they are still confined to the upper layer of the skin. If removed at this stage the cure rate is almost 100%.
Patients at the highest risk are those with:
• A previous melanoma
• Multiple moles
• A close family member who has had melanoma
• Previous non-melanoma skin cancers
Other risk factors are repeated blistering sunburns, inability to tan, freckling, red or blond hair and large irregular-looking moles.