The incidence of melanoma is continuing to increase worldwide. UV exposure is a known risk factor for melanoma. Geographic location is known to influence UV exposure and the distribution of the incidence of melanoma. Furthermore, epidemiologic data suggest that gender and genetics may influence the distribution of melanoma on the body surface and histopathologic characteristics of the lesion. This article describes what is known about the impact of gender, ethnicity and geography on the progression of melanoma. Advanced-stage cutaneous melanoma has a median survival time of less than 1 year. Surgical removal, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies and a variety of immunotherapies have been utilized in the treatment of melanoma. Current treatment strategies and the results of recent clinical trials are also discussed in this article.