What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, causing about 8,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Usually the first signs of melanoma are a change in size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most melanomas have a black or black-blue area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. The new mole may be appear black, abnormal, "ugly looking".

What to watch for when checking for melanoma

According to the National Institutes of Health, Thinking of "ABCDE" can help you remember what to watch for:
  • Asymmetry: the shape of one half does not match the other
  • Border: the edges are ragged, blurred or irregular
  • Color: the color is uneven and may include shades of black, brown and tan
  • Diameter: there is a change in size, usually an increase
  • Evolving: the mole has changed over the past few weeks or months

What is the treatment for melanoma?

Usually, surgery is the first treatment of all stages of melanoma. Other treatments include chemotherapy and radiation, biologic therapy, and targeted therapy. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Find, compare & rate dermatologists near you

Learn more about skin care & dermatologists:

How to find the best dermatologist
Skin cancer risks and prevention
What is acne?
What is a dermatologist?
What is eczema(aka dermatitis)?
What Is psoriasis?