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Melanoma Overview

Melanomas are cancerous (malignant) tumors involving specialized cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes have the unique ability to produce the pigment melanin and can be found in the skin, mucous membranes, eye, adrenal gland, and brain. Melanomas have a particular tendency to spread to distant sites (metastasize) at an early stage of growth. The effect of this spread is often premature death. The incidence of this type of skin cancer has recently been rising exponentially, and it is the single most common cause of death from skin disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2015
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Melanoma:

Melanoma - Patient Experience

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Melanoma - Treatment

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skin cancer due to sun

Skin Cancer Symptoms

Identifying Malignant Melanoma

The following easy-to-remember guideline, "ABCD," is useful for identifying malignant melanoma:

  • Asymmetry-One side of the lesion does not look like the other.
  • Border irregularity-Margins may be notched or irregular.
  • Border irregularity-Margins may be notched or irregular.
  • Diameter-Cancerous lesions are usually larger than 6 mm across (about the size of a pencil eraser), but any change in size may be significant.

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