Melanoma is a cancer that begins in specific skin cells called melanocytes. Because most of these cells still make melanin, melanoma tumors are often brown or black. But some melanomas do not make melanin and can appear pink, tan, or even white. Melanoma most often starts on the chest or back in men and on the legs of women. Although melanoma is much less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, it is far more dangerous and is likely to spread to other parts of the body if it is not caught early. The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years.