Melanoma Skin Cancer

What is Melanoma

The answer to the question asked by patients, their families, and other concerned people is that melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. To reach a more complete understanding, it is necessary to learn how the cells in the body become malignant.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Even so, if diagnosed and removed while it is still thin and limited to the outermost skin layer, it is almost 100% curable. Once the cancer advances and metastasizes (spreads) to other parts of the body, it is hard to treat and can be deadly. During the past 10 years the number of cases of melanoma has increased more rapidly than that of any other cancer. Nearly 42,000 new cases are reported to the American Cancer Society each year, and it is probable that a great many more occur and are not reported.

The Origin of Melanoma is a malignant tumor that originates in melanocytes, the cells which produce the pigment melanin that colors our skin, hair, and eyes and is heavily concentrated in most moles. The majority of melanomas, therefore, are black or brown. However, melanomas occasionally stop producing pigment. When that happens, the melanomas may no longer be dark, but are skin-colored, pink, red, or purple. Some Are More Dangerous.

Your skin cancer doctor will tell you whether the melanoma is early or advanced by describing it as either in situ or invasive. “In situ” is Latin and means “in one site” or “localized.” Melanomas in situ occupy only the uppermost part of the epidermis, the top layers of the skin. Mohs surgery can be used for treatment. Choose a Mohs surgeon who has been fellowship trained by the American College of Mohs Surgeons.