Types of Melanoma

by Sharon Hopkins

Melanoma is skin cancer and can often go undetected till the condition gets very serious. The condition can be fatal and therefore needs to be diagnosed in time. Melanoma appears as lesions on skin or discolored skin. Not all melanoma is cancerous and some can be benign too. It is important to get these skin patches tested. With early detection and correct treatment, melanoma can be completely cured.


There are many types of melanoma that have been identified but the major and most commonly occurring are:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma - This type of melanoma is usually a result of excessive exposure of the skin to the sun. The carcinoma tends to be pigmented and with a border.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma - This is the second most common form of melanoma, found especially in Caucasians. This melanoma looks like a scab that does not heal. The scab could also occasionally bleed.
  • Lentigo Maligna Melanoma - This type of melanoma occurs in elderly and is found as patches on the head and the neck. This melanoma often causes a superficial mark and sometimes can cause metastases.
  • Superficial Spreading Type - This melanoma is found on upper parts of the body mainly the, trunk and upper arms in the form of asymmetrical pigmentation.
  • Nodular Melanoma - This melanoma appears as a patch but soon becomes a raised nodule. The raised nodule can penetrate deeper into the skin and become cancerous. It can also cause an ulcer.
  • Acral-Lentiginous - This form of melanoma is found on hands, feet and nails. This type is common in people of the darker skinned races. It is similar to the Lentigo Maligna type of melanoma

Stages of Melanoma

Depending on the shape and size of the melanoma, you can identify which stage of the condition is in. It is the best if you visit a doctor and get a correct diagnosis.

The main signs and symptoms of melanoma include sores or discoloration that either ooze or don't heal fast. Change in sensation for the sensitive skin spots is also something you should keep a lookout for. Bleeding, pain, itching are all indications that the sores are worsening.

Melanoma Risk Factors

The causes of melanoma or the melanoma risk factors that you could be subject to are as follows:

  • You have light-colored skin or eyes.
  • You live by the coast in high-altitude places.
  • You have suffered a few incidents of sunburn.
  • You use tanning devices.
  • Your family has a history of melanoma
  • You have a weakened immune system.
  • You sport many moles on the exposed part of your skin.
  • You work in an industry where you are exposed to metals like arsenic, coal tar and creosote.

It is important that you get a diagnosis done before you arrive at any conclusion regarding your condition. Your doctor is the best person to help you diagnose and treat melanoma.


  1. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-what-is-cancer
  2. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cancer/cancer_types/melanoma.html

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