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J BUON. 2012 Apr-Jun;17(2):400-2.

Sir Robert Carswell (1793-1857): coining the term "melanoma".

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  • 1Department of History of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Melanoma is a neoplastic disorder produced by malignant transformation of the normal melanocyte, accounting for 4% of all skin malignancies. This malignancy was described since antiquity as a "fatal black tumour". In the 19th century, the distinguished pathologist Sir Robert Carswell coined first the term melanoma, provided its pathological description and depicted the lesion in his famous work Pathological Anatomy: Illustrations of the elementary forms of disease.

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