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Dark-coloured malignant tumour of skin cells that produce the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin. Melanomas are prone to metastasize (seecancer) and are associated with the highest death rate of any skin cancer. Removal, together with a collar of surrounding healthy skin, cures melanoma if done early. A common cause of melanoma is skin damage from sunlight. It is very rare in persons with dark skin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on melanoma, visit Britannica.com.