Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Current figures indicate that one in five people in the United States will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Every hour, two Americans die of the disease. Whilst melanoma only accounts for approximately one percent of American skin cancer cases, it is particularly aggressive and responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths.
Despite its grievous mortality rate, 99 percent of people diagnosed with melanoma survive more than five years beyond diagnosis. Catching the disease in its infancy is the key to successful treatment.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that has the potential to spread to other organs. This cancerous growth occurs when cells known as melanocytes mutate and reproduce at an unhealthy rate.
If left unchecked, the growth may then metastasize to other areas of the body. The most common sites for metastases are the:
- Around the gut
- Between the lungs
Melanoma becomes markedly more difficult to treat and the mortality rate significantly increases as the disease spreads around the body. It does this far faster than other forms of skin cancer.