What is a melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It starts out as a new mole or a rapidly changing mole. Because it can spread very quickly, it’s really important to get your moles checked regularly.

Melanoma is a cancer of the melanocytes, which are cells that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives colour to the skin, hair and eyes. Melanocytes can also form moles, where melanomas can develop. Although most moles do not become cancerous, it’s important to spot the rare ones that do.

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma – a type of non-melanoma skin cancer, often appearing as a sore or shiny bump.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – also a non-melanoma skin cancer, looks like a sore or wart that won’t heal.
  • Malignant melanoma – starts as a changing mole, and can spread very fast.

Read our blog post on the different types of melanoma and how it is treated.

If you are worried about a particular mole, it is always good to get it checked by a doctor.