This form of cancer begins in melanocytes, the cells that make the pigment melanin. It may begin in a mole, but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.


A mole that:

  • Changes in size, shape, or color
  • Has irregular edges or borders
  • Is more than one color
  • Is asymmetrical (if the mole is divided in half, the 2 halves are different in size or shape)
  • Itches
  • Oozes, bleeds or is ulcerated (a condition in which a hole forms in the skin when the top layer of cells breaks down and the tissue below shows through)
  • A change in pigmented (colored) skin
  • Is new or grows near an existing mole


Different treatments are available for patients with melanoma, including clinical trials of new treatments for patients with cancer.


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