What Are the Four Types of Melanoma Skin Cancer?

Posted on: 23 September 2015

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It is important to catch this cancer early to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. If melanoma spreads, then it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. Read on to find out about the four main types of melanoma.

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Acral lentiginous melanoma spreads superficially over your skin before penetrating deeper. It shows up as a brown or black discoloration that can appear on the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and up under your nails. This type of melanoma is usually found on darker-skinned people. It is most common in Asians and African-Americans. Acral lentiginous usually spread quicker than lentigo maligna and superficial spreading melanoma.

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Superficial spreading melanoma is one of the most common types. According to the American Skin Association, it accounts for around 70 percent of all cases. It is often seen in young people. This type of skin cancer grows on the top layer of your skin. It takes a while before penetrating deeper into your skin.

A raised or flat discolored patch with irregular borders is the first sign of superficial spreading melanoma. The patch can be a variety of colors, such as white, blue, red, black, brown, and tan. Melanoma can show up on any part of your body. However, it is more likely to occur on the legs in women, on the torso in men, and on the back for both sexes.

Lentigo Maligna

Lentigo maligna remains close to the surface of your skin. It appears on your skin as a slightly elevated or flat brown discoloration. This type of melanoma is common with the elderly. According to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, lentigo maligna is one of the most common forms of skin cancer found in Hawaii.

This type of skin cancer usually show up in areas that are constantly exposed to the sun. Example areas include ears, upper trunk, arms, and face. When this type of skin cancer starts to spread, it is referred to as lentigo maligna.

Nodular Melanoma

Nodular melanoma is invasive at the time of diagnosis. It is recognized as cancer when it becomes a bump on your skin. The bump is usually black. It can also be red, tan, gray, blue, white or the color of your skin tone.

Nodular melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of melanoma. According to the Cleveland Clinic, nodular melanoma makes up 15 percent of melanoma skin cancer cases. It is mostly likely to show up on the legs, arms and torso of elderly people. This cancer also shows up on the scalp in men.

You can decrease your risk for these skin cancer types by protecting your skin. Putting on sunscreen lotion is a must when being exposed to the sun. Also consider wearing hats and long sleeves when outdoors and avoiding the sun during the hottest parts of the day.