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.

Different treatments are available for those with melanoma. Some treatments are called standard. This means they are the currently used treatments. Some treatments are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments.

When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. You may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment, while others are available during or after treatment.

Treatment options vary depending on your situation including the stage of the cancer and other factors that may be... read more Treatment

Survivor Stories

Nicholas Martell

Nicholas Martell was first diagnosed with prostate cancer more than ten years ago. He was healthy for many years after being treated with radiation therapy. Nick recently experienced a recurrence of his cancer. Physicians at Penn tailored his treatment and enrolled him in a new Phase I clinical trial using laser-based photodynamic therapy (PDT) followed by hormone therapy. This leading edge treatment plan was effective. Nick just returned from a vacation with his daughter, and in his free time, he plays golf every chance he gets.




Spotlight

Stand Up to Cancer

Peter O'Dwyer, MD, professor of Hematology-Oncology and program director of Development Therapeutics in the Abramson Cancer Center, was interviewed on NBC10's 10! Show about Penn's work as part of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team... Read more

Melanoma Trials

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