What is it?

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. Melanoma is more common in men. It is often found on the trunk in men and legs in women.

Melanoma sometimes looks like a brown spot or mole. It begins in cells called melanocytes, found in the upper layer of the skin. When melanocytes get damaged by UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds, they can mutate, grow out of control and spread to other organs. Melanoma can spread quickly if not found early. That’s why regular skin checks are essential for all Australians.

Melanoma can begin as a new spot or in an existing spot. Different types of melanoma have different characteristics. Your GP or skin specialist can help you learn more about how to identify melanoma and your risk level. Treatment depends on the type of cancer, whether it has spread and your overall health. Treatment options include surgery, targeted therapies, chemotherapy and radiation.