What is Mucosal Melanoma?
Mucosal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma that occurs in the mucosal surfaces of the body such as the sinuses, nasal passages, oral cavity, vagina, vulva, anus and other areas. If you have mucosal melanoma it is important to know your diagnosis and treatment options. We have provided resources for people diagnosed with mucosal melanoma.
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About Mucosal Melanoma
Mucosal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma, making up only about 1% of melanoma cases. 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 mucosal melanoma.
Approximately 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.
Unlike most cases of melanoma of the skin, mucosal melanoma is not considered to be related to or affected by UV exposure. Additionally, 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 quite advanced once identified.
Mucosal Melanoma Research Articles
- A 2017 article in the Oncology Journal provides new insights and therapeutic options for mucosal melanoma.
- A 2012 comprehensive review of primary mucosal melanomas in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology provides a helpful overview of mucosal melanoma epidemiology and diagnosis.
The MRF would like to recognize and thank The Susan Fazio Foundation for Melanoma Research. This foundation continues to raise funds dedicated to the research of mucosal melanoma. Please visit their website to learn more about their efforts in mucosal melanoma.