Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, begins in skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the pigment melanin, which determines the color of skin, hair and eyes. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma begins on the surface of the skin and can grow down into the skin reaching the blood vessels and spread around the body. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin but often occurs on sun exposed areas of the body such as arms, face, back and legs.