History of melanoma


Painting by Chartran in the Sorbonne

The first description of melanoma was made by John Hunter in 1787 who described it as a “cancerous fungus” and he removed and preserved it in the Hunterian Museum ofthe Royal College of Surgeons in England. Such specimen was reanalyzed bymicroscope in 1968 and it was demonstrated to be a metastatic melanoma. In 1960s examination of nine Peruvian Inca mummies, radiocarbon dated to be approximately 2400 years old, showed signs of melanoma. The term melanoma was coined by a French doctor Laennec that between 1804 and 1820 made several readings on the argument and in the 1840 Samuel Cooper described the melanoma like an untreatable disease.William Norris from Stourbridge in1820 gave the first English language report of melanoma. In 1857 he remarked that there is a familial predisposition for development of melanoma. An American physician, Dr. Roger Turkington, discovered the human melanoma gene. One of first description was made from Jean Cruveilhier and was published in the Anatomies Pathologique du Corps Humains published between 1829 and 1842. Its discovery of the melanoma remained unknown till it was revealed by Pemberton in1858. Henry Lancaster contributed to the understanding of the melanoma putting it in correlation with the solar light exposure