What it is: Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, developing in the cells that produce melanin, but it’s also the most known. That’s because it’s the most dangerous form of skin cancer as it’s more likely to spread into the lymph nodes. Melanomas that are caught early have a high treatment success rate so fair skinned people, those with a family history of melanoma and those who have a history of high sun exposure should be on the look out for signs to catch it in its earliest stage.
What it looks like: The popular conception is that melanoma occurs on an already existing mole, and while that does happen, most melanomas occur as a completely new mole. Melanoma moles are often asymmetrical or irregular looking (for example, blotchy) and may be somewhat colorful – in addition to brown, one may see black, red, pink, gray or blue. A giveaway is that the mole will change in shape or size. Melanomas are usually larger than the size of a pea.
How it’s treated: Early stage melanomas need only be surgically removed, while more advanced melanomas may require chemotherapy or radiation therapy.