Metastatic Cancer: Melanoma

Melanoma Chapter Summary and Credits

Jennifer Kong


Key Takeaways

  • Melanoma is a type of cancer which involves uncontrolled growth of melanocytes.
  • Cancerous changes occur when there is DNA damage in melanocytes that results in a dysfunction of anti-tumour and/or pro-growth genes.
  • Melanocytes grow rapidly in a disorganized fashion, and have different levels of differentiation and cell sizes.  Melanocytes can make a lot of melanin, thus providing visual clues to tumour development.
  • When cancerous melanocytes invade the basement membrane and circulate in either the blood or lymph, this is metastatic melanoma.  The brain, liver, and lungs are common – but not the only – sites of metastases.
  • The most effective treatment to melanoma is for recognition of melanoma at an early stage recognition. The mnemonic ABCDE will help you identify suspicious moles that can develop into melanoma.
  • PREVENTION is the most effective treatment to melanoma.  So recall your sun safety tips!
  • Health care professional team work together to help diagnose and treat metastatic melanoma.


Authors:  Lyz Boyd (UBC Medical student), Helen Dyck (UBC) & Dr. Jennifer Kong (BCIT & UBC)

Gross anatomy & histology videos: Lyz Boyd (UBC medical student)

Medical Laboratory Technology interview:  Marion Regan (BCIT – School of Health Sciences)

Videoproduction & editing:  Dr. Jennifer Kong  (BCIT & UBC) and Yimei Qin  (UBC undergraduate student)

Editing: Eva Su (UBC Undergraduate student)



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Pathology Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Kong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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