Background  With increasing incidence over the last few decades, cutaneous malignant melanoma (CM) represents 3% of all skin tumors, and accounts for 75% of all deaths because of cutaneous malignancies. Little is known about the nature and epidemiology of CM in individuals with pigmented skin.

Method  Data were collected from the records of four public and private histopathology laboratories of Kerman city from March 20, 1994 to March 20, 2004. Skin biopsies with a diagnosis of CM were reevaluated to confirm the diagnosis of CM. The medical records of the patients were also taken into consideration.

Results  A total of 125 CMs were found. The male-to-female ratio was 1.08 : 1. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 58.9 years; with a peak in the seventh decade of life. Acral-lentiginous melanoma (ALM) represented 28.8% and; nodular melanoma occurred in 20% of cases. Limbs were the site of occurrence in 44% of tumors; whereas 36% of tumors occurred in head and neck region. There was a significant correlation between age and ALM (= 0.007) and also between gender and melanoma types (= 0.024).

Conclusions  This study indicates that some demographic and histopathologic features of CM in this population differ from those in the literature. More studies including cohort studies are needed to fully describe the nature and survival rate of CM in this area.