Melanoma* is the most serious type of cancer of the skin. Each year in the United States, more than 53,600 people learn they have melanoma.
In some parts of the world, especially among Western countries, melanoma is becoming more common every year. In the United States, for example, the percentage of people who develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has written this booklet (NIH Publication No. 02-1563) to help people with melanoma and their families and friends better understand this disease. We hope others will read it as well to learn more about melanoma. This booklet discusses risks and prevention, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and followup care. It also has information about resources and sources of support to help patients cope with melanoma.
Research continues to teach us more about melanoma. Scientists are learning more about its causes. They are exploring new ways to prevent, find, and treat this disease. Because of research, people with melanoma can look forward to a better quality of life and less chance of dying from this disease.
Information specialists at the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER can answer questions about melanoma and can send NCI materials. They can also send up-to-date treatment information from NCI’s PDQ® database. In addition, many NCI publications and fact sheets are on the Internet at http://www.cancer.gov/publications. People in the United States and its territories may use this Web site to order publications. This Web site also explains how people outside the United States can mail or fax their requests for NCI publications.