If melanoma is diagnosed at an early stage when the melanoma is ‘thin’, surgical excision will result in a cure in most cases. So early diagnosis is critical. Doctors who are trained and highly-skilled in dermoscopy, can diagnose melanoma at a much earlier stage than is often possible with the standard clinical ‘naked-eye’ examination. All Molecheck® doctors have completed comprehensive training in dermoscopy, and are highly-skilled in the technique. To enable an early diagnosis of melanoma, Molecheck® recommends regular checks. In addition, if you notice any change in a mole or lesion, or if you notice any new mole, lesion or sore, you should immediately seek advice.
Melanomas are removed surgically using a local anaesthetic. For most thin melanomas this is a very simple procedure. The melanoma specimen is then sent to the pathology laboratory for examination under a microscope. Depending upon the thickness of the melanoma (as measured using the microscope), then a second minor surgical excision may be required to remove a slightly wider area of skin.
For thicker melanomas, a much larger area of skin is excised. Sometimes, a skin graft is needed (where skin is taken from another part of the body to replace the removed area).
The lymph glands in the area may also be tested using a special procedure called sentinel node biopsy. If melanoma cells are found in the sentinel node, the other lymph nodes in the area may be removed. If the melanoma is widespread, other forms of treatment may be necessary.
After your treatment, regular check-ups will be required. The purpose of these checks is two-fold. Naturally, it is important to check for any recurrence of the melanoma. But also, the risk of getting a second melanoma is considerably increased, so more frequent Molecheck® examinations are recommended.