Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. The melanocytes (pigment-producing cells in the skin) in a person who develops melanoma grow uncontrollably. The cancerous growth on the surface of the skin
may spread to the rest of the body.
Melanoma can occur on or near a previously existing mole or it may develop on its own. This form of skin cancer is most common among white men and women over 40 years of age who have light complexions, blond or reddish hair, large numbers of moles, or who burn easily in the sun. Melanomas usually result from overexposure to ultraviolet sunlight and are often found on the upper back. The risk of melanoma increases with age.
Six out of seven skin cancer deaths are caused by malignant melanoma.
In January 2004, military researchers announced that Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange
during the conflict had a higher-than-average risk of developing melanoma.
- Agent Orange
- PUVA Therapy: Overview