DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Malignant melanoma. Surgically excised skin showing growth of a malignant melanoma (the round, dark growth in the centre). Melanomas are highly malignant tumours of the pigment-producing cells of the skin, or melanocytes. They usually occur in the skin, but may also appear in the eyes and mucous membranes. They may contain melanin or be free of pigment. They usually grow from an existing mole which may enlarge, become lumpy, change colour, spread, bleed or itch. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes and liver. Excision of the melanoma may be followed by use of radiotherapy or anti-cancer drugs if necessary.
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