The criteria currently touted for diagnosis of a slightly raised lesion of melanoma, a malignant neoplasm composed of abnormal melanocytes, are the "ABCDEs": Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variability, Diameter greater than 6 mm, and Elevation (or, for some proponents of the mnemonic, Enlarging or Evolving). The fully developed pigmented lesion above Roosevelt's left eyebrow admirably fulfills those criteria. But the ABCDEs also are encountered from time to time in a disparate variety of other pigmented lesions of the skin, among them being solar lentigo/seborrheic keratosis, melanocytic nevi of different kinds, and pigmented basal cell carcinoma.
- Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If caught early, it is curable. If not, it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.
- Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of all skin cancers, but accounts for the approximately 74% of all deaths from skin cancers.
- Melanoma metastasizes to the brain more than any other cancer. Of all the patients who die from melanoma, 90% will have brain metastases.
- Melanoma also metastasizes to the intestinal system more than any other tumor. Three cases in five metastasize to the small intestine.
- The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, there will be 8,650 fatalities in the U.S. The number of new cases of invasive melanoma is estimated at 68720. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 1 in 50 for whites, 1 in 1,000 for blacks, 1 in 200 for Hispanics.
National Cancer Institute
The Skin Cancer Foundation