Malignant Melanoma Treatment | Illinois Dermatology Institute

Malignant melanoma is the most virulent form of skin cancer, though it occurs less frequently than basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. While it is quite dangerous, early intervention can help you manage and even overcome the condition.

If you notice any skin abnormalities, suspicious growths, or changes in existing moles, please contact the team at IDI for an in-depth consultation and evaluation.


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What is Malignant Melanoma?

Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that forms in the melanocyte cells. These are skin cells located in the lowest portion of the epidermis that are responsible for producing melanin, or skin pigment. While other skin cancers generally form as a result of DNA damage triggered by heavy exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, this isn’t always the case with melanomas, though UV radiation can be a significant contributing factor.

The most common signs of malignant melanoma are the appearance of an atypical mole or an existing mole that has changed in size, color, or shape. Large moles are at the greatest risk of developing malignancies, as are moles that were present on the body at birth.

While this form of cancer is typically associated with irregular moles on the skin – generally on the back, chest, arms, and legs though occasionally appearing on the face – it can appear anywhere. This includes under the nails, on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, inside the mouth, on the eyes, and even within the urinary tract.

Although this form of cancer can occur in anyone, the following conditions might increase your risk:

  • Pale complexion
  • Frequent sunburns
  • Heavy exposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds/lamps
  • More than 50 moles
  • Compromised immune system
  • Relatives who’ve been diagnosed with melanoma

Diagnosis Process

Your doctor will perform an in-depth evaluation and conduct a series of tests to determine the presence of a malignancy and the extent of the spread. These tests include a skin biopsy, a measurement of the thickness of the growth, and a test to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. If it is determined that the cancer has spread, you will be advised to seek treatment from an oncologist.

Treatment Options

For small melanomas, it may be possible to perform a surgical excision to remove the growth completely. If the condition is caught early enough, it might not require further treatment, though the condition will have to be monitored closely.

However, if the cancer has spread to other organs, you will require more aggressive treatment that might include:

  • Anticancer targeted therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgical removal of lymph nodes


At IDI, we are proud to offer state-of-the-art diagnostic processes and treatments that help patients manage and overcome skin cancers. If you’ve noticed any skin abnormalities, please schedule an appointment for an evaluation today.


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