The incidence of malignant melanoma has been rising steadily for the last 30 years. Through physician and patient education, surveillance of high-risk individuals, and biopsy of any suspicious lesions, more lesions are being diagnosed earlier, where there is a high cure rate. Unfortunately many patients will still present with thicker lesions or nodal involvement, which carries a significantly worse prognosis. Over the past decade, there have been several changes in the management of primary cutaneous melanoma. These have stemmed from novel surgical approaches, a new understanding of melanoma biology, and randomized clinical trials designed to improve outcome and decrease the morbidity of therapy. This article will review the clinical evidence behind the current treatment recommendations for primary cutaneous melanoma as well as some of the emerging data on innovative immunologic-approaches to melanoma treatment.