Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer that, when left untreated, can quickly spread to other areas of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 60,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanoma in 2008, and more than 8,600 melanoma-related fatalities occurred that same year.


Detecting melanoma early is key to survival. When found during its earliest stages, it has nearly a 100 percent cure rate. A mole that is growing or has an abnormal appearance could be a symptom of melanoma, and needs immediate dermatological attention.


Individuals who have a family history of skin cancer, have a history of excessive UV exposure, or are otherwise fair-skinned are at an increased risk for developing the disease. Treatment for melanoma usually involves surgical removal of the cancer and any surrounding lymph nodes it may have spread to. In advanced stage melanomas, radiation or chemotherapy may be necessary to combat the cancer.