Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that begins in the melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin and give our skin its color. Typically, melanoma cancer cells are brown or black but sometimes they can appear pink, tan or even white. Malignant melanoma is another name for melanoma but both mean the same thing: melanoma cells or tumors are all malignant. (1)
Two other common skin cancers are basal cell and squamous cell cancer, which occur more often than melanoma but melanoma is far more dangerous so early detection and treatment is imperative. According to the Cleveland Clinic, of the one million cancers that will be diagnosed this year, “About 80% … will be basal cell carcinoma, 16% will be squamous cell carcinoma, and 4% will be melanoma.”
Symptoms of Melanoma:
The first skin lesions to check and monitor are moles. Moles may be flat or oval and typically are tan, brown or black.