Mucosal melanomas of the head and neck are very rare malignancies that present with aggressive behavior and poor prognosis. Usually diagnosed at advanced stages, thus presenting macroscopically as aggressive nodular neoplasms arising from the mucosa; few cases are detected in situ. Tumor staging for mucosal melanoma remains a challenge. Several staging systems have been suggested, including tumor-nodal-metastases (TNM) staging systems, but none are frequently used. There is no clear consensus on the management of head and neck mucosal melanoma, which reflects the rare nature of the disease and complexity of the anatomic site. The late diagnosis, frequently presenting at an advanced stage, denotes the aggressive nature of the disease. Currently, early detection and surgical excision is considered the primary method of treatment. The multidisciplinary team approach can help reduce morbidity and mortality once optimize treatment, reduce costs and minimize adverse events, while maximizing the chances of recovery.
Part of the book: Melanoma