melanoma is a rare and aggressive form of melanoma—making up only about 1% of
- As with other
areas of the skin, melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the body, are
also present in the mucosal surfaces of the body, lining the sinuses, nasal
passages, oral cavity, vagina, anus and other areas. Just like melanocytes in
other parts of the body, these can transform into cancerous cells, resulting in
50% of mucosal melanomas begin in the head and neck region, 25% begin in the
ano-rectal region and 20% begin in the female genital tract. The remaining 5%
include the esophagus, gallbladder, bowel, conjunctiva and urethra.
melanoma is not considered to be related to or affected by UV exposure.
- There are no
obvious identified risk factors, not even family history.
- Lacking an
identifiable culprit and given its rare occurrence, most cases of mucosal
melanoma are aggressive and quite advanced once identified, often resulting in
poor patient outcomes.