Patients with malignant melanoma generally present with a history of a new mole, or a change in an existing mole, which may bleed or itch.  There are 4 clinical descriptions of melanoma: superficial spreading, nodular, lentigo maligna and acral lentiginous.  GPs should refer patients to a Consultant dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.

The specialist should excise the primary lesion.  Staging will be confirmed following histological diagnosis and a CT scan


Delays in Diagnosis

Localised melanoma is very well treated by wide excision.  By contrast, the outlook for patients with metastatic melanoma is poor.  Treatment includes surgery and radiotherapy of single metastaic sites.  Those with multiple metastases are treated with chemotherapy.  Patients generally have disease in multiple sites and the median survival is approximately 4 months.  Therefore early diagnosis is crucial and mistakes in diagnosing melanoma very serious.  Claims may be brought for:

  • Failures to carry out adequate examination

  • Failure to advise a patient to return if a suspicious lump or mole change or grew

  • Failure to refer a patient to a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon

  • Mistakes by pathologists in reporting the biops


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Contact us

For further information or if you believe you have a cancer misdiagnosis claim, please contact our medical negligence team. All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including legal aid and no win, no fee.

  1. You can speak to any member of our Medical Negligence team on freephone 0800 358 3848

  2. e-Mail us at or,

  3. Complete our short enquiry form.

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