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.
During her week at college orientation at Columbia University in late August 2008, Annalisa Meier, an outgoing, self-reliant teenager, first noticed that she wasn't feeling well. She began having vivid nightmares and experienced an onslaught of headaches. In her first regular class, September 2, 2008, her jaw began twitching uncontrollably. After class, Annalisa made her way back to her dorm room and called her Mother, Pilar. While on the phone with her Mother, Annalisa fell to the floor and lost consciousness. When Annalisa regained consciousness, she called Pilar again, who "talked her" across campus to the Columbia University's Medical Center.
Watch Focus On Melanoma Conference - Get information on the latest advances in melanoma risk, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, symptom management and psychosocial issues.