Nodular melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It begins when the melanocytes in the skin grow out of control and form tumors. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for making melanin, the pigment that determines the color of the skin.
Nodular melanoma is the second most common type of melanoma, accounting for around 15 percent of all cases. It grows faster than other forms of the disease, which is why it’s considered aggressive.
Nodular melanoma can occur in people of all ages and all races. It is much more common in people with a light complexion and in people over 65.
Spending a lot of time in the sun or a tanning bed is the major risk factor for nodular melanoma. However, there are other reasons that nodular melanoma can develop. Learn more about melanoma risk factors.
The main sign of nodular melanoma is a bump or node that rises above the skin’s surface and that is firm to the touch. But there are other signs of melanoma to be aware of. Learn more about how to identify melanoma.
Treatment for Nodular Melanoma
Nodular melanoma is highly curable when diagnosed early. However, because nodular melanoma grows so quickly, it is often found at a more advanced stage. The goals for treatment of nodular melanoma are to:
- cure the cancer
- preserve the appearance of your skin
- prevent the cancer from coming back
The extent and depth of the melanoma guides your care plan. Treatment often involves surgery to remove the melanoma. If the melanoma is more advanced and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes or internal organs, then immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of therapies may be used to shrink the tumor.