Melanoma develops when normal pigment-producing skin
melanocytes become abnormal, grow uncontrollably, and
invade surrounding tissues. Usually only one melanoma develops at a time.
Melanomas can begin in an existing
mole or other skin growth, but most start in unmarked
When melanoma is found early, it can often be cured by surgery to remove it. But after melanoma spreads, it is harder to cure.
Incidence and mortality
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma.
Squamous cell carcinoma (together with basal cell carcinoma referred to as nonmelanoma skincancer).
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer but have substantially better prognoses than the less common, generally more aggressive melanoma.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer...
Experts talk about prognosis in terms of "5-year survival rates." The
5-year survival rate means the percentage of people who are still alive 5 years
or longer after their cancer was discovered. Remember that these are only
averages. Everyone's case is different, and these numbers don't necessarily
show what will happen to you. The estimated 5-year survival rate for melanoma
98% if cancer is found early and treated
before it has spread.