Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, with nearly 60,000 people in the United States diagnosed with this cancer each year. It comprises only a fraction of all skin cancers, but is the most deadly. But, says Dr. Susan Kesmodel, a surgical oncologist at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore, melanoma is a highly curable cancer if it is detected and treated early.

Dr. Kesmodel, who is also an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says that surgery is often the most effective treatment, but radiation therapy and chemotherapy also can be used in cases where the cancer has spread.

She tells interviewer Karen Warmkessel that the best way for people to avoid getting melanoma is to limit their sun exposure and to wear protective clothing and sunscreen.