Pathology dictionary

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of cancer made of specialized cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are most common in the skin although they can also be found in other parts of the body. Melanoma can start in any area of the body where melanocytes are normally found.

Melanocytes produce a chemical called melanin which gives the skin its colour. People with darker skin have more melanin compared to people with lighter skin.

Melanocytes can be injured by overexposure to UV rays from the sun (severe sun burns) which in some people leads to the development of melanoma.

There are different types of melanoma and the behavior of the disease depends on a variety of factors including the size of the tumour, the pattern of growth, and the depth of invasion. All of these factors are examined by your pathologist and documented in the pathology report.

If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, your pathology report provides critical information which will allow your doctor to predict the behavior of the cancer and select the most appropriate treatment.

Learn more about your pathology report for melanoma in the skin.

A+ A A-