Types of Melanoma

Types of Melanoma

Melanoma has four basic types, three of them begin in situ: it starts at the top layers of the skin and sometimes they become invasive, one of them is invasive from the start, and the severity of those cancers is measured by how deeply it invades your skin.

Superficial spreading melanoma

is the most common type, about 70% of all cases. As the name suggests, this melanoma grows along the top layer of the skin for quite some time before penetrating more deeply.
The first sign for superficial spreading melanoma denotes the appearance of a flat or slightly raised discolored patch with irregular borders and a somewhat asymmetrical shape. The color varies as you may see areas of tan, brown, black, red, blue or white. This type of melanoma can occur in a previously benign mole. This melanoma can be found almost anywhere on the body, but it is most likely to occur on the trunk in men, the legs in women, and the upper back in both genders.

Lentigo maligna melanoma

is similar to the superficial spreading type: it’s also closer to the skin surface for a while, and usually appears as a flat or mildly elevated mottled tan, brown or dark brown discoloration. This type of in situ melanoma is found most often in the elderly, arising on chronically sun-exposed, damaged skin on the face, ears, arms and upper trunk. When this cancer becomes invasive, it is referred to as lentigo maligna melanoma.
• Acral lentiginous melanoma also spreads superficially on the skin before penetrating more deeply. It is different from the others, though, as it usually appears as a black or brown discoloration under the nails or on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands. This type of melanoma is sometimes found on dark-skinned people, and can often advance more quickly than superficial spreading melanoma and lentigo maligna. It is the most common melanoma in African-Americans and Asians, and the least common among Caucasians.

Nodular melanoma

is usually invasive at the time it is first diagnosed. The malignancy is recognized when it becomes a bump. It is usually black, but occasionally blue, gray, white, brown, tan, red or skin tone. The most frequent locations are the trunk, legs, and arms, mainly of elderly people, as well as the scalp in men. This is the most aggressive of the melanomas, making 10 to 15 percent of the diagnosed cases.

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