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

Todd Sheridan

Todd Sheridan's family members have always supported his love of hockey and were his biggest fan when his team won the Junior A National Championship. They again showed their deep devotion by bringing him to Penn for the best possible cancer care. Todd's physician at Penn diagnosed cancer of the tongue and neck, which had spread to his lymph nodes. A possible side effect raised by his physicians was nerve damage in his right arm, limiting the motion in his arm. Gregory Weinstein, M.D., his surgeon at Penn, performed the detailed surgery and was able to avoid that outcome. Three weeks after surgery, Todd was not only doing push-ups, but was practicing with his hockey team in Ontari. But his journey didn't end there. As a survivor, Todd talks personally about how cancer has had an impact on his life and how he was able to combine his experience and passions to benefit his community.




Melanoma Trials

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