About Melanoma: A Shareable Guide for Patients, Family and Friends

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About Melanoma: A Shareable Guide for Patients, Family and Friends


Melanoma is usually, but not always, a cancer of the skin. Having moles can be a risk factor, but it’s important to remember that most moles do not become melanoma. 

There are three general types of melanoma:

  • Cutaneous melanoma is melanoma of the skin and is the most common type.
  • Mucosal melanoma can occur in any mucous membrane of the body, including the nasal passages, the throat, the vagina, the anus or in the mouth.
  • Ocular melanoma, also known as uveal melanoma, is a rare form that occurs in the eye.

Melanoma can often be seen on the skin, making it easier to detect in its early stages.

  • If undetected, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body including vital organs. 
  • Once melanoma has spread, it is referred to as metastatic melanoma
  • An understanding of some of the abnormal genes in some subtypes of melanoma has led to the development of targeted therapies that have reversed the disease in many people. Also, medicines to activate the immune system against the cancer show great promise.
  • It is important for a patient to have a genetic analysis of their melanoma and all options, including clinical trials, should be discussed.


Melanoma Support

A diagnosis of melanoma can be overwhelming for the entire family. Open discussion between family members, health professionals and patients can help ensure the best care. There are many different places to find a wide range of information on melanoma. We encourage you to join our community and to check out our brief videos to find the most up-to-date information from leading experts about support, new treatments, clinical trials, communication and financial issues and much more.

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Melanoma Videos and Transcripts

Melanoma Survivors Speak: How Clinical Trials Saved My Life

Melanoma survivors and patient advocates T.J. Sharpe and Martha Bishop discuss their journey in their searches for the best treatment. Both T.J. and Martha had to muddle through a couple medicines to find the one that worked best for them.


What Is Uveal Melanoma?

Dr. Sapna Patel, an assistant professor of melanoma at MD Anderson Cancer Center, describes uveal melanoma, who is at risk for this aggressive cancer, and how this rare type of melanoma can be prevented.


Is Melanoma Breaking the Mold in Immunotherapy?

What do we know about single agents vs. double agents in melanoma? Melanoma expert, Dr. Sapna Patel shares why this is an exciting time for treating this disease.


Don’t Lose Hope, An Advanced Melanoma Survivor Speaks

T.J. Sharpe, a melanoma survivor and patient advocate, discusses his diagnosis with melanoma and how he almost didn’t catch it in time. His new goal is to help support other patients in their own diagnosis and to spread the word about the importance of life.


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Page last updated on June 13, 2019