About melanoma


What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a serious form of cancer that arises when the pigment producing cells in the skin (melanocytes), start to grow out of control. The initial visible signs may display as a mole or lesion that grows, changes shape, or colour.

Excess exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which comes from the sun or sun beds has been identified as the primary risk factor for melanoma.

In females in the UK, melanoma is the 5th most common cancer. In males in the UK, melanoma is the 6th most common cancer. 

Are there different types of melanoma?

There are several types of melanoma. These include:

  • skin or cutaneous superficial spreading melanoma (the most common form in the UK)
  • nodular
  • lentigo maligna
  • amelanotic
  • acral lentiginous

Other rare melanomas include uveal (eye) and mucosal melanomas.

What are the signs and symptoms of melanoma?

The two most common signs of melanoma skin cancer are:

  • The appearance of a new mole or lesion on your body
  • A change in an existing mole or lesion (such as a change in shape, bleeding or itching)

Late stage melanoma (stage 3 or 4) can lead to other symptoms.

How is melanoma usually treated?

The treatment of melanoma depends on the stage and type of melanoma.

There have been many advances in the treatment of melanoma over the last decade, especially with the advent or targeted therapy treatments for both advanced melanoma and adjuvant treatment of melanoma.

Melanoma Focus provides a series of videos to explain these treatment options which you can find here:



More Information

For more information about melanoma, please visit the Melanoma Focus website:



Photography provided by Finn Hopson:

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