A melanocyte is a normal cell found in the skin that produces melanin. Melanin is a black or dark brown pigment that is seen in the skin, hair, the mucosal surfaces of the body (such as the lining of the sinuses, nasal passages, oral cavity, vagina and anus) and parts of the eye. Melanoma frequently develops from a mole or pigmented lesion. With careful monitoring of moles and quick action when they change or begin to look suspicious, you and your physician can take steps to prevent melanoma and its progression.
There are several types of melanoma called:
- Cutaneous (skin)
- Non-cutaneous (non-skin cancer)
- Metastatic melanoma
Statistics for Melanoma
Current estimates are that one out of every 28 men and one out of every 44 women will develop invasive melanoma in their lifetimes. In 2017, an estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma were diagnosed in the United States.
The incidence of melanoma continues to rise with a tripling in the incidence over the past 20 years. Melanoma affects all age groups; the median age at diagnosis is 50.