Most all men and women have moles.  When abnormal cells join together within the melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin)—a skin cancer known as melanoma develops.   Of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most deadly and can arise out of a new mole, an existing mole or a mole that has been diagnosed as dysplastic or abnormal.  Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body but it is most commonly found on the trunk (the area between the shoulders and the hips) in men, and on the lower legs in women.   If a melanoma is found early, surgery can be performed to remove the cancerous cells and the prognosis is good; if a melanoma is not caught early, it can metastasize rather quickly and invade other parts of the body decreasing the survival rate. Routine skin examinations and regular screening from a dermatologist can help identify an irregular mole early.  Skin protection from the sun at all ages is the most important prevention.  People who have a family history of melanoma or are concerned about developing it, should talk to their doctor about the disease. 

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