Disorders of pigmentation: melanoma

Published on May 4, 2014   50 min
This is Dr. David Fisher from the Department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. I'm pleased to present today's lecture, entitled Disorders of Pigmentation and Melanoma.
Probably the first comprehensively presented series of melanoma patients appeared way back in 1857, as depicted in this particular report by Dr. William Norris, who was describing a set of patients with a condition associated with a hyper pigmented, atypical, melanocytic disorder that probably represented one of the initial descriptions of human melanoma.
This slide presents a depiction in graphical form of the anatomy and architecture of human skin. You will notice the word epidermis describes the most superficial layers of the skin. We will see in a moment greater detail of the structure of the epidermis. But it is the epidermis which is visible to the outside. It's the epidermis through which other organ structures, such as hairs, protrude. And it is really the epidermis that represents the most crucial functional barrier that protects the inside of our bodies from the outside environment. Deep into the epidermis lies the dermis and the hypodermis. Within these structures reside numerous other organelles that have specialized function, both in maintaining the skin itself, and also in permitting communication and protection to the organism through their specific interactions. The skin is frequently described as the largest organ in the human body, given its cumulative surface area. And it carries out numerous highly differentiated and specialized functions that are vital for human health.