Moles are usually pigmented skin lesions on the skin that are composed of melanocytes. There are several types of moles and each has a different appearance. Some of them are present from birth and some occur as we get older. The incidence of melanoma is growing constantly over the years. Although it occurs in only 4% of all forms of skin cancer, it is responsible for 80% of all deaths from skin cancer. About 1/3 of all malignant moles comes from benign pigmented moles. The appearance of new, pigmented moles should always arouse suspicion of malignant melanoma.
Malignant melanoma prognosis depends on various factors. The most important factors are phase of growth, tumor thickness and depth of skin invasion and subcutaneous tissue. Prognosis also depends on some clinical indicators, elders have poorer prognosis than younger people and men poorer prognosis than women. If the melanoma stage is lower, and in the absence of distant metastases, the prognosis is much better. Although there is a fear among patients of being diagnosed with distant metastases, it is very rare. Only 4% of patients are diagnosed with distant metastases during their first diagnosis. When the mole is removed (regardless of the method), it must be sent to histopathological examination in order to confirm its nature and inform the patient of the treatment required.
Patients with metastases to regional lymph nodes have a five-year survival of only 30 percent, and patients with distant metastases have a survival rate of 5 to 10 percent. Since surgery is the only effective treatment, early detection and treatment of atypical pigmented moles can save patients’ lives.