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Melanoma

Cross section of layers of skin, with a spot of melanoma through epidermis and into dermis below it.

Melanoma begins in the cells (melanocytes) that make the pigment that colors your skin. It is a serious form of skin cancer that usually starts in unmarked, normal skin. But it can start in a mole or birthmark.

When melanocytes grow out of control, they can spread from the epidermis, which is the upper layer of skin, down into the dermis. Melanoma can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Early diagnosis is important, since treatment works best when melanoma is found early.

Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

 
 

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