Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer, and if undetected for too long, can lead to death.

Melanoma, or MM, as it is commonly referred to, develops from the pigment-containing cells of the skin, the melanocytes. It is for this reason that any dark moles should be evaluated regularly, especially if patients present with many. MM typically develop from moles that have increased in size, that have irregular edges, that have changed in colour, or are itchy. In women, MM most commonly occur on the legs, and in men on the back.

The primary cause of malignant melanoma is sun exposure, and UV exposure with tanning devices. Patients with a family history of malignant melanoma, and red hair, is at higher risk, and should consult with a dermatologist for regular screening.

Most MMs are black or brown, but they can be pink, red, purple, blue or white. In medicine we often refer to the “ugly duckling” – if you have a lesion on the skin that stands out and looks strange, please consult with your general practitioner or dermatologist for advice.

Should you be diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, I will discuss the various reconstructive options with you, based on your specific circumstances. Your safety is essential and will remain the primary concern in reconstructive procedures. Any reconstructive procedure will be tailored to you, considering the best aesthetic outcome, and the impact the reconstruction may have on your lifestyle.