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Cancer Genetics

Melanoma and Sarcoma Relation



Are sarcoma and melanoma related to each other?


Sarcomas and melanomas are only related to each other in that they are both forms of cancer. Whenever a word ends in the suffix -oma, it means that it is a tumor.

A melanoma forms from melanocytes, the cells in the skin that have the dark pigment in them (melanin) that normally protects us from damage from the sun`s UV radiation. When the growth of the melanocytes becomes abnormal, a melanoma results.

A sarcoma forms from the supporting tissues of the body -- muscle, bone, cartilage, etc. There are many different types of sarcoma depending on the originating tissue. For example: a rhabdomyosarcoma comes from muscle, an osteosarcoma comes from bone, and a chondrosarcoma comes from cartilage. Medical science can combine any number of Greek words to describe the tumor so there are many more words used with sarcoma.

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Response by:

Judith A Westman, MD Judith A Westman, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Biochemistry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University