ABC Medical Center > Melanoma

What is Melanoma?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to a serious type of skin cancer that occurs when the pigment cells or melanocytes, responsible for giving the skin its color, are altered and grow uncontrollably.

Despite being the least common skin cancer, it is the most damaging because it can quickly spread to other parts of the body if it is not detected early.

The exact cause of the appearance of melanomas is unknown, but its relationship with excessive exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds has been identified.

They can form anywhere on the body, mainly in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, arms, legs, shoulders, and back. However, they can also appear on the sole of the feet, palms of the hands, and nails.

There are several factors that can increase the risk of melanoma, such as:

  • Having had a relative with melanoma.
  • Sunburn.
  • Women under 40 years old
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet, solar, or artificial light.
  • White skin.
  • Compromised immune system.
  • Numerous moles.

Signs and symptoms Melanoma

It is characterized by:

  • Shape, color, and size changes in a mole.
  • Formation of a new highly pigmented mole.

Melanomas are usually painless and rarely itchy. For this reason, you must regularly observe your skin and pay attention to moles or any other spots on the skin, especially if they have the following characteristics:

  • Irregular shape.
  • Uneven edges.
  • Color modifications.
  • More than 6 millimeters in diameter.

Diagnosis and treatment Melanoma

To detect melanoma, your doctor, in addition to performing a physical examination and checking your medical history, will order blood tests, lymph node mapping, chest X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. They will also perform a biopsy for analysis in the lab.

The treatment will be established based on your type of melanoma and its degree of progress. When they are small and thin melanomas, surgery will be required to remove them completely and you will not require additional treatment.

If the melanoma has spread beyond the skin, treatment consists of:

  • Surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes.
  • Immunotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy.

Each case is different and the combination of therapies varies, so your doctor will determine the optimal treatment plan for you.


  • Examine your skin constantly to locate possible signs of melanoma.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to the sun and if you do, use sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing against solar radiation.

Since its opening in 2009, our Cancer Center offers chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments at the level of the best medical centers in the world through a comprehensive care model for cancer patients.

We include the most innovative therapies in chemotherapy in facilities specially designed for your comfort and peace of mind.

In radiotherapy procedures, we provide you with evidence-based treatment plans discussed with experts from Houston Methodist Hospital, using state-of-the-art technological equipment in state-of-the-art facilities.


  • cancer.org
  • cancer.net
  • cancer.gov
  • cun.es
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medigraphic.com
  • Oro-Pozo Y, Leyva-Sánchez E, Díaz-Rojas PA. Morfometric indicators in malignant skin melanoma. AMC. 2020;24(6):841-855.
  • Tamariz CAF, Corona DA, Mellado OR, et al. Immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced stages of melanoma. Acta Med. 2021;19(1):108-115. doi:10.35366/98579.
  • Romo-Magdaleno JA, Busto-Ruano JP, Reyes-Ortega LM. Melanoma de la mucosa nasal. Otorrinolaringología. 2020;65(4):191-198.
  • Aguirre-García R, Peña-Vega CJ, García-Figueroa RB, et al. Melanoma vaginal. Reporte de un caso. Ginecol Obstet Mex. 2020;88(06):402-406.

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