Melanoma is derived from melanocytes which are cells that produce melanin, or pigment-producing cells, in the bottom layer of the epidermis. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer which has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if it is not treated early. The best chance of cure is by surgical excision at the earliest stage possible.
Melanoma can occur in a pre-existing mole or can occur as a new spot, freckle or mole. Something on your skin that is changing should be reported to your doctor. A shape in colour or shape can be important however it is important to remember that while most moles are darkly pigmented, they can also occur with no pigment so be vigilant for pink, red or skin-coloured lesions that are new, changing or not going away. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body, not just on sun-exposed areas.