Collins St, Melbourne | Brighton | Bentleigh East
Dr Mansoor Mirkzem - Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon - BMedSci MBBS FRACS[Plas]




Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in cells of the skin called melanocytes. Melanocytes are pigment producing cells in the skin, hair, and eye that determines their colour. The pigment that melanocytes produce is called melanin.

It is the most common type of skin cancer and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma begins on the surface of the skin and can grow down into the skin reaching the blood vessels and spread around the body. It can occur anywhere on the skin, eyes, mouth, or the internal organs and the disease affects people of all ages.

Causes of skin cancer

Skin cancer is caused by exposure to large quantities of sun radiation particularly the ultraviolet radiation. This may start a change in skin cells (melanocytes) that eventually turns them into melanoma cells.

Risk factors for developing melanoma

  • Frequent sun exposure
  • Fair sun sensitive skinned people
  • History of sunburns
  • Reduced immunity
  • Irregular looking moles that are large in size
  • Previous history of melanoma
  • Older age
  • Hereditary conditions

Signs and Symptoms of melanoma

Melanoma is often painless and usually produces the following signs:

The first sign is a change in shape, size, and colour of an existing mole. It may also appear as a new irregular mole. It may appear black or blue black in colour. They are typically located on the back, the shoulders, or the back of the legs. They often have an irregular border and uneven colours. Skin may become reddish or swollen and may be painful.

Treatment of melanoma

Surgical treatment: It is the standard treatment for melanoma. Wide surgical excision is done for removal of the e tumour along with the surrounding normal skin, depending on the depth of the melanoma.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Immunotherapy: Also known as biological therapy uses body’s immune system to fight cancer or reduce side effects caused by some cancer treatments. Some form of immune therapy such as cytokines (interferon-alpha and interleukin-2) or BCG vaccine is used to treat some melanomas.

Chemotherapy: It is the use of drugs to kill the cancer cells. The drugs are given in cycles a treatment period followed by a recovery period and then another treatment period, and so on.

Radiation therapy: Also known as radiotherapy uses high- energy rays to kill cancer cells.

Dr. Mansoor Mirkazemi - Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon
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Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Fellow Royal Australian College Of Surgeons
International Plastic Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgery