Mucosal melanomas fortunately are rare. Mucosal melanomas of the oral cavity and head and neck areas have not been as well characterized as their cutaneous counterparts (90). Certainly, the paucity in melanoma in mucosal surfaces, accounts for less than 1% of all cases of melanomas, contributes to this lack of understanding. Mucosal melanomas as a rule tend to present at a higher stage and are more aggressive than cutaneous melanomas. With oral melanomas, the incidence is very low, in the order of 1.2 cases/10 million per year. Overall, the most common sites for mucosal melanomas are head and neck (55%), followed by the anal/rectal region (24%), female genital tract (18%), and urinary tract (3%) (90). In the literature, about one-half of all melanomas that occur within the oral/nasal region are located in the oral cavity (48%) (90). The survival rate for mucosal melanomas is much less than that of cutaneous melanomas, likely due to a more prominent vertical growth phase in mucosal melanomas, higher stage of discovery, and the inability of surgeons to adequately resect lesions for negative surgical margins. A recent report suggested hopeful prognostic indicators: clinical stage of presentation, tumor thickness greater than 5 mm, vascular invasion on histologic slides, and development of distant failures are the only independent predictors for mucosal malignant melanomas (91).
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Complete Guide to Preventing Skin Cancer. We all know enough to fear the name, just as we do the words tumor and malignant. But apart from that, most of us know very little at all about cancer, especially skin cancer in itself. If I were to ask you to tell me about skin cancer right now, what would you say? Apart from the fact that its a cancer on the skin, that is.