Types of Melanoma

Melanoma is a cancer of pigment producing-cells called melanocytes. These cells are what give us each our own unique skin color. Most melanomas originate on sun-exposed skin, though they can also develop in other parts of the body, including the eyes and sun-shielded locations like mucous membranes or palms, soles, or under fingernails. 

People tend to group all of these specific subtypes of melanoma together, but there are unique differences among each type. 

If you think that you have melanoma, or any type of skin cancer, see your doctor immediately. 

Cutaneous Melanoma

Cutaneous melanoma on arm.Cutaneous melanoma, or melanoma of the skin, is the most common type of melanoma. Learn more about cutaneous melanoma. 

Acral Melanoma

Acral melanoma on heel of footAcral melanoma is a rare type of skin melanoma that forms on the palms, soles of feet, and under finger or toe nails. Acral melanoma is the most common type of melanoma among people with darker skin. It is not believed to be caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Learn more about acral melanoma.

Mucosal Melanoma

Mucosal Melanoma in the mouthMucosal melanoma invades mucosal tissue in the body including the nasal cavity, lining of sinuses and mouth, the GI tract, vagina, anus, and other areas. Mucosal melanoma accounts for about 1% of all melanoma diagnosis. Learn more about mucosal melanoma.

Uveal Melanoma

Uveal Melanoma in the eyeUveal melanoma, or melanoma of the eye, xarises in specific areas of the eye, including the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Learn more about uveal melanoma.

Other Skin Cancers

Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell CarcinomaWhile melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer, thankfully it is not the most common. Basal cell carcinoma (sometimes abbreviated as BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (sometimes abbreviated as SCC) make up 99% of skin cancers diagnosed in the United States. Learn more about other skin cancers. 


The Melanoma Research Alliance, the largest non-profit funder of melanoma research worldwide, is committed to ending death and suffering due to melanoma. Learn more about MRA.

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