What Is Melanoma?

Learn about melanoma from board-certified dermatologist Ahmet Altiner in this Howcast video.


Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer. It accounts for only 4.0% of total skin cancer's diagnosed, yet 73% of deaths, due to skin cancer are because of melanoma. Melanoma primarily happens in Caucasians yet it's important to remember that Indians, African-Americans, Asians can also get melanoma. Melanoma can happen on sun-exposed areas, but it can also happen on the rest of the body. Melanoma can happen in your nails. Melanoma can happen on your palms and soles. In fact, melanoma can even happen in your retina inside your eye.

If you have a history of melanoma or if you have a family history of melanoma, it is very important to see a dermatologist regularly, for a full body check. Not only sun-exposed areas and existing moles, but normal looking skin should also be examined for early signs of melanoma. Most melanomas arise just de novo. This means it's not because of a changing mole, but's it's because of a newly appearing mole. So if you have a new appearing mole that does not look like the rest of the moles you have, it is very important to see a dermatologist for a skin biopsy.

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