Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.  Melanoma, the most serious form, accounts for 4 percent of skin cancer cases but causes 79 percent of skin-cancer deaths.


 Melanoma originates from melanocytes, pigment cells present normally in the skin. The tumor can affect adults of all ages, even young individuals (starting in the mid-teens). The incidence has increased dramatically -a 300 percent increase in the past 40 years or so.  
The individuals most susceptible to development of melanoma are those with fair complexions, red or blond hair, blue eyes, and freckles and who tan poorly and sunburn easily. Increased risk include a family history of Melanoma. Dark-skinned populations (such as those of India and Puerto Rico), blacks, and East Asians have rates 10 to 20 times lower than lighter-skinned whites.Typically they start as a mole. Sometimes a mole of many years changes in size, shape, color or elevation, or starts to bleed.  
                 How to suspect a Mole:

  • You should be able to draw a line through the middle of a mole or lesion and have it look the same on both halves.
  • You should have a nice, clean regular border around your mole.
  • Change in color is a major indicator of a potential problem.
  • More than about six millimeters in diameter can be suspicious.
 Early detection of melanoma may be facilitated by applying the “ABCD rules”:A– asymmetry, benign lesions are usually symmetricB– border irregularity, most nevi have clear-cut borders

C– color variegation, benign lesions usually have uniform light or dark pigment

D – diameter > 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser).

Acral lentiginous melanoma is more common in blacks, Asians, and Hispanics and occurs as an enlarging hyperpigmented macule or plaque on the palms and soles.

Nodular melanoma most commonly manifests itself as a rapidly growing, often ulcerated or crusted black nodule.