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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



melanoma in situ  listen  (MEH-luh-NOH-muh in SY-too)

  Abnormal melanocytes (cells that make melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color) are found in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). These abnormal melanocytes may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Also called stage 0 melanoma.

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Stage 0 melanoma in situ; drawing shows skin anatomy with an abnormal area on the surface of the skin. Both normal and abnormal melanocytes and melanin are shown in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). Also shown are the dermis (inner layer of the skin) and the subcutaneous tissue below the dermis.