Melanoma is a form of cancer that begins in melanocytes, the cells that make the pigment melanin. It may begin in a mole, but can also begin in other tissues such as in the eye (known as ocular melanoma, a type of rare cancer) or in the intestines. Melanoma of the skin, also called cutaneous malignant melanoma, is however the most common type.
In Europe, about 1 in every 100 people will develop melanoma at some point in their life, but important variations exist from one country to another. About 11 in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma annually. This number is increasing in almost all European countries.
There are several types of melanoma; all are dangerous and should be taken very seriously. When melanoma is diagnosed, physicians record the size and depth of the occurrence; these criteria, among others, help determine at what stage the melanoma is, and in turn, the proper course of treatment. Melanoma can also spread beyond the local site to other organs, which is known as metastasis.
Though a specific cause has not been identified, there are several known risk factors for developing melanoma. A diagnosis of melanoma is serious, but by learning effective ways to cope, you can maintain a high quality of life, even while undergoing treatment.
Melanoma Independent Cancer Advisory Board
In 2011, ECPC founded M-ICAB, the Melanoma Independent Community Advisory Board, upon the initiative of Patricia Garcia-Prieto and Quentin van Daele. Launched as pilot project, M-ICAB was an expert patient-led platform for the constructive interaction of all stakeholders in the melanoma community including scientists, academics, policymakers and the cancer patients who formed its core. Through a motivated partnership working to create meaningful solutions, M-ICAB produced in 2012 a White Paper on Melanoma.
* ECPC believes that whereas the core document provides important information, it needs to be revised and updated based on current statistics and following the recent developments with regards to research on melanoma. *