What is Melanoma?


Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). There are different types of melanomas. The most common type of melanoma, called cutaneous melanoma, begins in the skin. Melanoma can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.

When melanoma begins in the skin, the majority of melanomas are found on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women. However, melanomas may occur anywhere on the skin, even on skin without much color (such as palms and soles) or on areas that receive little sun exposure (such as between toes or under fingernails). They may also appear on mucous membranes (thin moist layers of tissue that line body cavities and cover internal organs such as the mouth, anus, or vagina). Some people develop only one melanoma; others have many.

Melanomas usually have a dark color — shades of brown or black — but they can sometimes also be pink, tan, blue-black, white, red, or even colorless. In addition to changes in size, shape, and color of a mole or other lesion, another important sign of

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It is the most serious form of skin cancer. Melanoma starts in cells called melanocytes. These cells make melanin, the pigment that gives your skin color.

Most melanomas start as new spots on the skin, not in an existing mole. They are more likely to appear on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women. The neck and face are other common sites. Many melanomas have a black or blue area, but they can also be pink, red, purple, white or skin colored.

Melanoma can also start in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in tissue inside the nose or mouth.

Melanoma is not common, but it can be deadly if it isn’t found early. If you have a mole that looks different from others or that changes over time, see your doctor to get it checked out right away.

Melanoma is much more likely than other types of skin cancer to grow and spread to other parts of the body if it’s not found early. But if you find it early when it’s still thin and hasn’t grown deep into your skin, it’s almost always curable with minor surgery that removes

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). Melanoma may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), in the eye (ocular, or uveal, melanoma), or, rarely, in other pigmented tissues, such as in the intestines. The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and tanning beds.

Melanoma is less common than some other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread. If you have melanoma or are close to someone who does, knowing what to expect can help you cope. Here you can find out all about melanoma, including risk factors, symptoms, how it is found, and how it is treated.

Melanoma is a malignant tumour of melanocytes which are found predominantly in skin but also in the bowel and the eye. Melanomas develop from pre-existing moles or, very rarely, de novo (without any previous history of a mole). The vast majority of melanomas have a genetic basis and certain genes that predispose to melanoma have been identified. They are usually caused by the cumulative effect of years of exposure to ultraviolet light.

Melanomas can occur at any age but the risk increases with age, especially over 50 years. The incidence of malignant melanoma continues to rise worldwide and is much higher in white populations than in black or Asian populations. Worldwide, it is estimated that 132 000 deaths due to melanoma occur annually. In Europe, about 148 500 new cases were diagnosed in 2012, with more than 52 000 deaths projected for 2013.[1]

In Australia and New Zealand, there are more cases and deaths due to malignant melanoma than any other cancer in young people aged 15–39 years.[2] More cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed each year than all other skin cancers combined.[3]

Melanoma is a cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines. Melanoma is more likely to metastasize (spread) than the less dangerous forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The treatment of melanoma depends on whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Melanocytes are found throughout your body, but they are concentrated in certain places, particularly the skin. They produce a pigment called melanin, which gives color (pigment) to your skin, eyes and hair.

Melanocytes can grow together to form benign moles which, after a change in size, shape or color can be a sign of melanoma. These may simply disappear without treatment; however, there are some rare types of moles that are known as dysplastic nevi or Clark’s nevi that may turn into melanoma.

Melanoma occurs when something goes wrong with the DNA in these cells and they start to grow out of control. In most cases this change occurs for no apparent reason; sometimes though it

Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). There are different types of melanoma, which vary in how they look and where they tend to grow. Most melanomas have a black or blue area. Melanoma is usually curable when it is found and treated early, but it is more difficult to treat when it has spread to other parts of the body.

Melanoma can be found on the skin, but can also occur in the eye (ocular or uveal melanoma), or even less commonly, in internal organs such as the intestines. Melanomas may arise from or resemble moles; thus, all new moles or changes in pre-existing moles should be examined by a physician so that early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances for survival.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and can be fatal. But if detected early, it can usually be cured by surgery.

The most common symptom of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. This should always be investigated by your doctor.

Other symptoms include a sore that doesn’t heal, a spot or lump that bleeds or changes colour, or a change in sensation such as itchiness, tenderness or pain.

Melanoma occurs when pigment cells (melanocytes) become cancerous. It’s not yet known what causes normal melanocytes to develop into melanoma but certain risk factors have been identified.

These include:

excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from solariums – people who use solariums before the age of 35 have an increased risk of developing melanoma

having many moles on your body – having more than 50 ordinary moles doubles your risk of developing melanoma

having fair skin that burns easily, blue eyes, red hair and freckles – these features indicate your skin may not provide adequate protection against UV radiation

immunosuppression – people with weakened immune systems (from medical treatments or conditions such as HIV infection


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