One Person Dies Of Melanoma Every Hour

Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes – the cells that produce the skin coloring or pigment known as melanin. Melanin helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Melanoma is almost always curable when it’s found in its very early stages. Although melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancer, it’s far more aggressive than other skin cancers and causes most skin cancer deaths. Though it most often affects the skin (including under the nails), melanoma can start in the eyes, mouth, genital, or anal areas, too.

Melanoma will account for more than 76,000 cases of invasive skin cancer in 2014. It accounts for more than 9,700 of the nearly 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year.

The overall 5-year relative survival rate for melanoma is 91%. For localized melanoma, it’s 98%; survival rates for regional and distant stage diseases are 62% and 16%, respectively. About 84% of melanomas are diagnosed at a localized stage.

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