Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes which occurs in the skin but can be found elsewhere, exclusively the eye. Majority of melanomas is initiated in the skin. While it denotes one of the rarer forms of skin cancer, melanoma underlies the majority of skin cancer-related deaths.
Many years of intensive laboratory and clinical research propose that the sole effective cure is surgical resection of the primary tumor before it achieves a thickness of greater than 1 mm. Melanoma of the skin accounts for nearly 1,60,000 new cases worldwide each year and is more common in white men. It is particularly frequent in white populations living in sunny climates.
According to the WHO Report deaths worldwide due to malignant melanoma are registered annually is 48,000.
Generally, an individual's risk for developing melanoma depends on two groups of factors: intrinsic and environmental. "Intrinsic" factors are generally based on individual's family history and inherited genotype and sun exposure. The diagnosis of melanoma requires experience, as early stages may look identical to harmless moles or not have any color at all. Moles that are asymmetrical in color or shape are suspicious of a malignant melanoma or premalignant lesion.