Melanoma is the less and the most serious of skin cancers. Melanoma caused death of 75% of all skin cancer cases and rising, yet, every year people who diagnosed with melanoma increased each year, in just United States there are 60,000. Melanoma tumor usually find in the melanocytes, which produces pigment, or melanin.
Malignant Melanoma Prognosis
Malignant Melanoma Prognosis
Melanoma skin cancer is more common in Caucasian populations living in sunny climates than in other groups, or in those who use tanning salons. According to a WHO report about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year. Melanoma can also found in the anal/rectal region, in the linings of the mouth and vagina, and in the eye. Some are even found in the gut and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Any of these areas can develop melanoma, but much less commonly than the skin. It is quite common, however, for a melanoma starting in the skin to spread (”metastasize”) to the aforientioned areas. The area where a cancer first starts is called the “primary site”, as distinguished from later areas of spread. The “primary site” is usually apparent for most cancers, but not uncommonly it remains “occult” in melanoma– the first sign of disease being distant metastasis. Thus, it is common to first detect metastatic melanoma in the lung, bone or brain, although it’s occult primary site was probably the skin.

In adulthood, Skin cells divide more slowly to replace cells that have died either from old age or injury. New skin cells arise at the deepest level of the skin, and gradually push their way upwards toward the surface as they mature. The main types of cells found within the skin are basal cells, which form the bottom layer, squamous cells, which push toward the surface to form the skin we see, and melanocytes, which produce melanin pigment that colors the skin. If specific types of gene damage occur in a cell, it can start dividing out of control. When cells divide quickly, they tend to pile up to form a lump, called a “tumor”.

A tumor merely means an abnormal swelling; it can be caused by infection, inflammation, or just about anything and is usually not cancer. A “benign” tumor only grows in its local area (albeit quite large), it cannot spread distantly and is not cancer. In contrast, a “malignant” tumor has the ability to spread to anywhere in the body, and this is cancer. This process of spread is called “metastasis”, and is what makes cancer so dangerous. Ultimately, cancer starts in a single cell and is a disease of its genes. Any type of skin cell can give rise to skin cancer, when their reproduction goes out of control, and they divide in a disorganized way. When basal or squamous cells become cancerous, they are called carcinomas, while when the melanocytes become cancerous, this is called melanoma, which has such a different character that it is a different topic from other skin cancers.