Today’s specimen of the week comes from UCL Pathology Collections. The Collections are displayed at the UCL Pathology Museum at the Royal Free Campus of the UCL Medical School in Hampstead. The museum includes a medical teaching collection of nearly 3,000 specimens of human remains illustrating the history of disease. To open up these specialist medical displays to a wider audience, we’ve developed a trail of 10 specimens of well known diseases. As the museum only opens to the public for special events, we’re sharing the trail as part of the Specimen of the Week series.
In honour of Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May, today’s specimen of the week is a malignant melanoma of the eye.
Melanoma is a cancer — an uncontrolled growth of cells — that usually develops in the pigment-containing cells of the skin. The main cause of melanoma is over-exposure to ultra-violet light rays, either directly from sunlight or artificial sources like tanning beds.
Melanoma most commonly occurs in people with lighter skin, particularly white people living in tropical or subtropical climates. The highest instances of melanoma are in Australia and New Zealand.
If detected early, a melanoma can be surgically removed before it spreads to other parts of the body. Sadly, that wasn’t the case here.