Early recognition and treatment of thin cutaneous melanomas (stages Ia and Ib) have contributed to a decreased case-fatality rate during the past several decades. The only known preventable risk factor for melanoma is sun protection in childhood, which directly affects the number of melanocytic nevi developing in an adult. Additional risk factors, clinical features, and the malignant potential of precursor lesions are discussed. The four major clinicopathologic subtypes of melanoma are described with recommendations for appropriate biopsy techniques for suspected melanoma. Nationwide skin cancer screenings by dermatologists and greater public awareness of the warning signs of melanoma have enhanced detection of early melanoma and have promoted chances for a cure.
View details for PubMedID 8977551