Layers of the Skin
The layers of the skin include epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. Melanocytes are in the layer of basal cells at the deepest part of the epidermis.
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Treatment of Melanoma
The treatment or combination of treatments each patient receives depends on the stage of the melanoma, recommendations of the care team, and the patient’s wishes. These are the most common types of treatment:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy (for example, if your tumor has a BRaf mutation)
- Clinical trials testing new therapies
Learn more about types of cancer treatments.
Clinical trials at Huntsman Cancer Institute test new ways to diagnose, treat, and manage skin cancers and melanoma. Our dedication to our patients means we are continuously striving to find new therapies to alleviate symptoms and minimize side effects of melanoma treatments.
Causes & Risk Factors
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean you are sure to get cancer. It means your chances are higher than the average person’s. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your cancer risk. Protecting your skin is an important part of skin cancer prevention.
Signs & Symptoms
These are signs of melanoma:
- New sores or lesions that may look like a mole but are changing rapidly in appearance
- A mole with any of these features:
Most moles are benign and do not dramatically change appearance in adults. However, rarely a mole can become melanoma. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosis & Stages
Screening & Diagnosis of Melanoma
Screening looks for cancer before you have symptoms. Screening can also check for anything unusual if you notice changes in your skin. Screening can rule out an issue or help find cancer at an early stage, when it may be easier to treat.
Doctors use these tests to screen for and diagnose melanoma:
Read more information about a new diagnosis of melanoma.
Stages of Melanoma
Cancer stages show whether cancer has spread within or around the skin or to other parts of the body. The cancer spreads in the body in three ways, through tissue, the lymph system, or the blood.
There are multiple stages of melanoma:
When cancer spreads from where it started to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. These metastatic cancer cells are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if melanoma spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are melanoma cells. The disease is metastatic melanoma, not bone cancer.
Learn more about the stages of melanoma from the National Cancer Institute.