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About Melanoma and Other Lesions

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Melanoma is a very serious form of cancer that occurs most often on the skin and less frequently in the eye or the lining of the nose, mouth, or genitals.


Melanoma is the Most Deadly Skin Cancer

Melanoma is the least common but the most deadly skin cancer, accounting for only about 5% of all cases but 75% of skin cancer deaths. (1)

Melanoma Affects People of All Ages

  • People under 45 account for 25% of all melanoma cases.

  • Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30 and is second only to breast cancer in women ages 30-34. (2)

A Growing Concern

  • Incidence has increased since 1973. (3,4)

  • It should be noted, however, that although the increase in the rate of melanoma has doubled since 1973 it has been STABLE since 2000.

5 Year Survival Rate Has Increased

During this same period, there has been a significant rise in overall 5-year survival in patients with melanoma. This may be due to earlier diagnosis, when tumors are still at a thinner depth, as well as improved surgical techniques to remove them. (5)

Treatment and Survival 

  • Treatments are available for all people with melanoma

  • Melanoma can quickly spread to other parts of the body, so it is important to detect and treat melanoma in its early stages

  • When melanoma is detected and treated in its early stages, the chances for long-term, disease-free survival are excellent

  • Eighty-five percent of diagnosed patients enjoy long-term survival after simple tumor surgery (6)



1. SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) data.
2. American Cancer Society, 2011
3. Weinstock MA. Epidemiology, etiology, and control of melanoma.
5. Lancetrn 2002;94:1537-1545.
6. Lotz MT, Dallal RM, Kirkwood JM, Flickenger JC. Cutaneous melanoma. In DeVita, Rosenberg SA, Hellman S, eds. Principles and Practice Oncology, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott; 2001.


  • Melanoma accounts for only about 5% of all skin cancer cases but causes 75% of all skin cancer-related deaths.

  • It is estimated that there will be 76,100 invasive melanomas diagnosed in the United States in 2014, and there will be 9,710 deaths

  • It most often occurs in the skin but can appear in the eye or in the lining of the nose, mouth, or genitals.

  • Melanoma that originates in the skin is also known as cutaneous melanoma.