Overview of melanoma
Melanoma represents the least common form of skin cancer, accounting for approximately 5% of all cases. However, it is the most aggressive and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body, including vital organs—a condition known as metastasis.
The term “melanoma” is used to describe cancers originating from abnormal growth of melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for pigmentation in the upper skin layers.
Melanoma skin cancers need specialised medical attention and treatment. This underscores the importance of consulting a medical professional if you notice a suspicious growth.
The early detection of melanoma is crucial for effective treatment and reducing the risk of its spread. When caught early, melanoma typically remains confined to the skin’s surface and can often be completely removed through excision, resulting in a low chance of recurrence or spread to other organs.
Management of melanoma.
We would not generally remove a melanoma at Oxona Healthcare. They need to be managed by a specialist team, which might include dermatologists, plastic surgeons and oncologists. This includes multi disciplinary team meetings where every cancer diagnosis is reviewed regularly by a group of specialists. The NHS is better geared up for this approach than some private providers.
Occasionally, a lesion which looks harmless is removed at our clinic, and turns out to be a melanoma. If this happens we will immediately refer you to an NHS or private provider for further managements.
How to spot a melanoma.
The initial indicators of melanoma typically involve the emergence of a new skin spot or alterations in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole. While these signs should prompt you to consult a healthcare professional, it’s also advisable to make regular self-examinations of your skin a routine practice, especially if you’re at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
You can use mnemonic technique known as the ABCDE method when inspecting moles or marks:
A – Asymmetry: Look for irregular shapes.
B – Border: Check for uneven or non-smooth edges.
C – Color: Examine pigmentation for unevenness or dark spots.
D – Diameter: Ensure that the spot is not larger than a pencil eraser.
E – Evolving or Elevation: Watch for changes in size, shape, or texture.
there is more information about detecting early melanomas on the following link:
The only definitive way to confirm whether a mole or mark is melanoma is to have it evaluated by a skin specialist as time is crucial for the effective treatment of any skin cancer, especially melanoma. At Oxona Healthcare, all our doctors are highly skilled at recognising melanoma. If you are worried about a lesion we can usually fit you into an appointment within a few days at most.
Additional symptoms may encompass:
- Sores that do not heal.
- Pigmentation, redness, or swelling that extends beyond the mole’s borders onto the surrounding skin.
- Itchiness, tenderness, or pain emanating from a mole.
- Alterations in texture, the presence of scales, oozing, or bleeding from an existing mole.
Given the diverse nature of these symptoms and the fact that not all melanomas originate from moles, it is essential to discuss any new or unusual skin growths with your doctor.
Many melanomas develop in skin areas exposed to sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but they can also arise in areas typically covered by clothing
How much does it cost?
If we do remove a lesion that we suspect could be malignant, it will be excised as an ellipse of skin with a wide margin. Surgical fees for ellipse excisions range start at £515.
How can I prevent melanomas?
Sun protection is crucial to reduce the risk of a melanoma, especially if you are fair skinned or have a large number of moles. Factor 30 sunscreen is considered the minimum strength you need. Factor 50 is better, and Eucerin have recently brought out a factor 100 cream. https://www.eucerin.co.uk/products/actinic-control/actinic-control-md-spf-100 .
Using sunbeds or allowing your skin to burn are big risk factors for melanoma.
Our high risk patients can opt to have annual mole screening. If your risk of melanoma is low (few moles and good sun protection) then a mole check every few years is sufficient. Much of what we do in our mole and blemish checks at Oxona, is teaching you how to recognise abnormal lesions, because we want you to notice a suspicious lesion as early as possible.
Do I need to have a pre-op consultation?
Yes, all patients require a pre-op consultation prior to any surgical treatment. During this appointment, you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions, and the doctor will discuss the procedure and outcomes, while also providing an exact costing. You are advised to take your time to consider the available options and best outcomes for you.
Can I claim for my appointment on insurance?
You need to speak to your insurer prior to your appointment. Some insurers will reimburse you for the appointment, but you will need to present any documentation at the time of your appointment for the doctor to sign. Please note that all our doctors are registered with the GMC on the GP register not the consultant register. Please ensure you make this clear to your insurers at the outset.
How it works
From the moment you book your appointment to post-treatment care, we’re here to support you.
- Booking your appointment
With Oxona, there’s no need for a referral and you can book your appointment online, over the phone or by email. All appointment require a pre-paid deposit due at the time of booking.
Our specialists will give you the time you need to discuss your problem, making sure you are truly heard. Your questions will be answered with understanding and impartial advice, so you feel ready to make an informed decision.
- Treatment plan
Our treatment plans are based on you as an individual, rather than off the shelf. Taking into account your symptoms, medical history and any anxieties, we’ll explore all available options and respect your decisions.
Your care doesn’t end after your treatment. Our team are on hand to offer free post-operative support, and to answer any questions about your treatment plan.