There are four basic types of melanoma: superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma, and nodular melanoma. Dr. Alvarado, can you tell us about the different types of melanoma?
Sure, Dr. Mayzik. Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma in the United States. It accounts for about 70 percent of all diagnosed melanoma cases, and is the one most often seen in young adults. These melanomas are generally flat or only slightly raised, with irregular or asymmetrical borders, and they can vary in color, appearing tan, brown, black, red, blue, or white. Superficial spreading melanomas can develop almost anywhere on the body.
Lentigo maligna melanoma most often affects the elderly and is most commonly seen in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, arms, and upper trunk. Like superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna typically appears as a flat or slightly raised discolored area, usually a mottled tan, brown, or dark brown.
Acral lentiginous melanoma usually appears as a black or brown discoloration on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, or under the nails. It is the most common melanoma in African Americans and Asians, and the least common among Caucasians.
Nodular melanoma is the most aggressive type of melanoma, and is usually already invasive when it’s first diagnosed. It appears as a bump, usually black, but it can also be blue, gray, white, brown, tan, red, or skin tone. Nodular melanoma most often develops on the trunk, legs, and arms, but it’s also commonly seen on the scalp in men.