Melanoma and Pigmented Lesions


Melanoma is a type of cancer that forms from melanocytes. 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, and parts of the eye.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Other more common, but usually less serious, types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Of the many different types of melanoma, most are seen in the skin (this also includes nail beds, soles of the feet, and scalp), but melanoma can also occur in the eye, or on mucosal surfaces which include the anal canal, rectum, and vagina.

Pigmented Lesions are skin spots that are brown or black. They are usually moles. Pigmented lesions may change in size, color or border shape. They may itch or sting. Such changes could be warning signs that melanoma may be developing.

Careful monitoring of moles and quick action when they change in a suspicious way are among the steps you and your doctor can take to prevent melanoma and its consequences.

Patients with melanoma or pigmented lesions will be cared for by the team from Penn's Melanoma Program and its Pigmented Lesion/Melanoma Practice.

Survivor Stories

Tanya Zekovitch

By the age of seven, Tanya Zekovitch already understood what it was like to be a cancer patient after being treated for Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. So when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the summer of 2000, when she was still only in her early 20's, she felt lucky to find that Penn's Abramson Cancer Center offered patient support specialits and counselors to help patients cope with their diagnosis, not only to navigate the medical system, but also to address their emotional needs. Having benefited from counseling services when she was treated as a child, Tanya found Mindy Weismer, a Patient Service Coordinator, and they quickly developed a close relationship.




Melanoma Trials

Phase III Randomized Trial of the Role of Whole Brain Radiation Therapy in Addition to Radiosurgery... more