Skin cancer typically develops on skin that has seen excessive sun exposure. This common form of cancer can also occur on areas not exposed to sunlight.

The 3 major types of skin cancer are:

  • basal cell carcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is known to grow quickly with the ability to spread to any organ. Around 30% of melanomas begin in existing moles, but the rest start in normal skin.

Symptoms of Melanoma Skin Cancer

The first sign of melanoma is often a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
Here are some ways you can identify a melanoma:

  • Asymmetrical Shape

    Melanomas typically have 2 very different halves and are an irregular shape.

  • Notched or Ragged Border

    Melanomas usually have a notched or ragged border.

  • Mixed Colour

    Melanomas are typically a mix of 2 or more colours.

  • Large Diameter

    Most melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter.

  • Enlargement or Elevation

    A mole that changes its overall size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.

Have you developed a Mole Recently?

Get screened for peace of mind. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis today.

What causes Melanoma?

There is an increased risk of developing melanoma if you have:

  • A personal history of melanoma.
  • A family history of melanoma.
  • Fair skin, freckles, blond or red hair and blue eyes.
  • Excess sun exposure, including blistering sunburns.
  • A history of tanning bed use.
  • Many moles, especially atypical moles.
  • A weakened immune system.

Diagnosis of Melanoma Skin Cancer

If you have a mole or other spot that looks suspicious, your dermatologist will typically conduct a skin biopsy first for diagnosis. If results show that your skin cells are cancerous, your dermatologist will conduct further investigations to determine the severity of your condition.

 

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

    A PET scan can check for melanoma in lymph nodes and other parts of your body distant from the original melanoma skin spot.

  • Blood work

    Blood tests may be used to measure lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) before treatment. Other tests include blood chemistry levels and blood cell counts.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

    A CT scan can show if melanoma is in your internal organs.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

    An MRI scan is used to check for melanoma tumors in the brain or spinal cord.

  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

    Patients with melanomas deeper than 0.8 mm may need a biopsy of sentinel lymph nodes to determine if the melanoma has spread.

Treatment for Melanoma Skin Cancer

Treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and your general health.

  • Melanoma Surgery

    Surgery has a high probability of being able to cure your melanoma in the early stages. A dermatologist will typically numb the skin with a local anaesthetic and remove the melanoma and healthy surrounding skin.

  • Lymphadenectomy

    For melanoma that has already spread, removal of the lymph nodes near the diagnosed area may be required. This may prevent the spread to other areas of your body.

  • Immunotherapy

    Immunotherapy stimulates your own immune system to help fight the cancer.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy includes treatments with high-energy rays to attack cancer cells and shrink tumors.

  • Metastasectomy

    Metastasectomy is a surgical option used to remove small melanoma bits from organs. This “targeted” approach goes after cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre 38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-36
Singapore 329563
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your journey to optimal skin health

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can melanoma be prevented?

    You may reduce your risk of melanoma by protecting yourself from excess sun and sunburns. Here are some tips:

     

    • Avoid sun and seek shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    • Don’t use tanning beds. Use a spray tan (cosmetic) instead.
    • Wear hats with brims, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
    • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever under the sun.
    • Use a lip balm with sunscreen.