Melanoma

Melanoma is a cancer of melanocytes (pigment cells). It is the most dangerous skin cancer and has the ability to grow locally and metastasize to any organ in the body. The prognosis is excellent for early disease. The treatment is surgical excision with margins. Treatment of advanced disease is minimally effective.

Sun exposure is a major risk factor

The incidence of melanoma is rising rapidly. In 2007 (the most recent year numbers are available) —

  • 58,094 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin, including 33,041 men and 25,053 women.
  • 8,461 people in the United States died from melanomas of the skin, including 5,506 men and 2,955 women.
malignant-melanoma

An advanced melanoma showing nodularity and surface ulceration