A 45-year old man in China whose gums turned black was found to be suffering from an extremely rare form of melanoma that had affected his gums.
According to the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the affected area measured 1.5cm (0.5in) by 4cm (1.5 inches) and was situated just above his incisors in his upper jaw. The doctors revealed that he was suffering from mucosal melanoma, a rare form of the disease which affects less than five percent of the total cases.
A surgery was performed to remove to remove the affected gums and part of the man's upper jaw and the doctors said that they have not found any signs of cancer six months after the surgery. Emory University's Dr Susan Muller, who had previously conducted a study on melanomas, said that it was an extremely rare case of the disease. "This is an unbelievably rare type of melanoma. At this point, we don't know, first, why there are melanocytes in the mouth, and second, what makes those cells go bad and become malignant", she said.