Skin melanoma

What is Skin melanoma?

Melanoma (; from Greek μέλας melas, "dark") is a type of skin cancer which forms from melanocytes (pigment-containing cells in the skin).

In women, the most common site is the legs, and in men, the back. It is particularly common among Caucasians, especially northern Europeans and northwestern Europeans, living in sunny climates. There are higher rates in Oceania, North America, Europe, Southern Africa, and Latin America. This geographic pattern reflects the primary cause, ultraviolet light (UV) exposure in conjunction with the amount of skin pigmentation in the population. Melanocytes produce the dark pigment, melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin. These cells predominantly occur in skin, but are also found in other parts of the body, including the bowel and the eye (see uveal melanoma). Melanoma can originate in any part of the body that contains melanocytes.

The treatment includes surgical removal of the tumor. If melanoma is found early, while it is still small and thin, and if it is completely removed, then the odds of a cure are high. The likelihood that the melanoma will come back or spread depends on how deeply it has gone into the layers of the skin. For melanomas that come back or spread, treatments include chemo- and immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. Five year survival rates in the United States are on average 91%.

Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers. However, it is much more dangerous if it is not found in the early stages. It causes the majority (75%) of deaths related to skin cancer. Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of melanoma in the world. It has become more common in the last 20 years in areas that are mostly Caucasian.

Questions and answers on "Skin melanoma"

Hello I was diagnosed with skin melanoma on my abdomen in August 2014. I had 3 different diagnoses. One was just severely atypical, one melanoma in...

doctor1 MD

Brief Answer:
Both are generally not misdiagnosed because of entirely different findings.

Detailed Answer:

Melanoma metastasis and liver...

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I have developed a lot!!!! of tiny red dots over my chest, back, arms and thighs in the last year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 18...

doctor1 MD

Thanks for writing in.
I would agree with your dermatologist that these small multiple red lesions that you are currently...

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I just noticed a brownish/black spot underneath a callous of my left heel. It is a bit tender to touch but does not hurt when I walk. It is a...

doctor1 MD

Brief Answer:
Please upload a picture if possible

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for using HCM to post your question.

I read carefully...

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