Melanoma is one of the most dangerous oncological diseases and although it accounts for only 4% of all dermatologic cancers, it is responsible for 80% of deaths from skin cancer. Study results have shown that only 14% of patients with metastatic melanoma survive for five years or more.
If melanoma is detected in the early stages it is highly curable. The incidence of cutaneous melanoma is increasing in western countries with about 132,000 new cases worldwide each year. The number of cases of melanoma has increased dramatically over the last 50 years, rising from 8.2 to 9.4 cases per 100,000 population in 1975 (both,
females and males) to approximately 24.2 and 35.4 per 100,000 in 2010 in the USA. Mortality has also increased with a plateau among females being reached recently, but with a continued increase amongst males. The disease affects mostly the Caucasian population of both genders.