melanoma on the shoulder and back

This may not be the exact look of your condition. Please confirm your diagnosis with your dermatologist.


What is it?

Melanoma is a dangerous type of skin cancer that occurs in melanocytes, which are the cells that produce the skin pigment known as melanin. Though melanocytes are usually found in the skin, they are also present in the bowel, the eyes, and other areas of the body; however, the risk of melanoma in these areas is very low, compared to that of the skin.

While melanoma is less common than other forms of skin cancer, it is the most deadly and is responsible for approximately 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Approximately 160,000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Of those, approximately 48,000 result in death according to the National Cancer Society.

Excessive ultraviolet light (UV) exposure contributes greatly to ones risk of developing melanoma.


Melanoma most often presents itself with the change of an existing mole. While a checklist is available for the more common presentation of Melanoma, it is always the best course of action to be seen by a dermatology provider for confirmation. The following is a list of some features that would be concerning and should be evaluated:

Asymmetry of color or shape
Borders – Irregular mole borders – scalloped, wavy or notched
Color – Uneven, either between different moles, or within the same mole
Diameter - Anything new growing in size
Evolving – Changing in size, shape and/or color
Moles that itch, ooze or bleed are also suspect.

It is important to remember, however, that melanoma can appear on normal skin tissue and does not always start as a mole.

Could this be what you have?

Because melanoma development is so closely related to the overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, Caucasians are more susceptible to contracting the disease, however, all skin types and variations are at risk.

Fair-skinned people and people who have experienced repeated sunburns are at greater risk of developing melanoma. Other high risk factors are tanning bed use, people who live in high elevations, live close to the equator or a family history of melanoma.

Treatment Options @ Pinnacle

We will confirm Melanoma through a biopsy and pathological examination and then treat appropriately. Close dermatological surveillance is recommended after being diagnosed with melanoma.