Cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM) is a treacherous disease which carries high mortality rates. However, when diagnosed early it is wholly curable. The incidence of MM is rising steadily. The most important clinical signs include the appearance of a newly acquired pigmented lesion or change in a preexisting one. Melanoma has been classified into subtypes which include melanoma in situ, lentigo maligna melanoma, nodular melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma, desmoplastic melanoma, superficial spreading melanoma, and mucosal melanomas. Although these overlap, there are characteristic clinical features of each that are generally recognizable. Evaluation of pigmented lesions requires correlation of clinical findings with risk factors, family history and histology. A representative skin biopsy should be performed on any lesion suspected of being MM, even if the possibility is remote.
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