Melanoma

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
A senior couple walks outside wearing sunscreen to avoid melanoma.

Too much time in the sun or a tanning booth in your youth might make you worry about skin cancer, especially the most serious form called melanoma. 

It is a type of skin cancer that originates in the pigment-producing cells of the epidermis called melanocytes. Of the three most common types of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous. It's much more likely than basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma to spread.  

Melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. Rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years. About 96,000 new cases of melanoma are expected to be diagnosed this year. 

But here's the silver lining: “This serious cancer can be—and should be—diagnosed early, when it is usually completely curable,” says David J. Leffell, MD, a Yale Medicine dermatologist, who is the chief of the Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology

At Yale Medicine, we are proven experts in diagnosing and treating melanoma. “Knowing more about melanoma in its earliest stage can save your life or the life of a loved one,” says Dr. Leffell.