What are Melanomas?

Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes which are found predominantly in skin but also in the bowel and the eye. It is one of the less common types of skin cancer but causes the majority (75%) of skin cancer related deaths.

Melanocytes are normally present in skin, being responsible for the production of the dark pigment melanin. Despite many years of intensive laboratory and clinical research, the greatest chance of cure is in the early surgical resection of thin tumours.

Around 60,000 new cases of melanoma invasive melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year, more frequently in males and in Caucasians. It is more common in Caucasian populations living in sunny climates than in other groups, or in those who use tanning salons.

According to a WHO report about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year.

The treatment includes surgical removal of the tumor, adjuvant treatment, chemo- and immunotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Melanoma may be divided into the following stereotypes:

  • Lentigo maligna
  • Lentigo maligna melanoma
  • Superficially spreading melanoma
  • Acral lentiginous melanoma
  • Mucosal melanoma
  • Nodular melanoma
  • Polypoid melanoma
  • Desmoplastic melanoma
  • Amelanotic melanoma
  • Soft-tissue melanoma

Further Reading


This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on "Melanoma" All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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