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Health and Disease

Melanoma: 5 Types of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a form of a skin cancer that develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment (melanin) for one’s skin. The exact cause of melanoma is unidentified, however, studies have shown how melanoma can be caused due to an unhealthy amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Melanoma is a form of a skin cancer that develops from melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment (melanin) for one’s skin. The exact cause of melanoma is unidentified, however, studies have shown how melanoma can be caused due to an unhealthy amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV light). The most common types of melanoma include nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna, superficial spreading, and acral lentiginous. Ocular melanoma is classified as an uncommon or rare type of melanoma skin cancer.

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

As superficial spreading melanoma makes up 70% of all types of melanoma skin cancers, it is classified as the most common type of melanoma. It can appear in a mole or it can spread to new, deeper areas within the patient’s body. The process of the cancer spreading across the skin’s surface is known as radial growth, while the process of the cancer spreading deeper within the patient is known as vertical growth. A superficial spreading melanoma is known to appear everywhere on a person’s body. However typically for males it can be found on their torso or upper back and for females it can be found on their legs or upper back. It typically starts on the central body part. When trying to find this type, look for a flat or thin and a discolored or asymmetrical patch with rough surroundings. In terms of color, this type is known to appear in shades tan, brown, red, pink, lack, white, or blue. But, it can also lack pigment and look like a melanotic lesion.

Lentigo Maligna

Lentigo melanoma is commonly found in the older population. In terms of statistics, this melanoma skin cancer makes up approximately somewhere in between 10 to 15 percent of all the four main types. This type of cancer begins by growing near one’s skin or one’s epidermis before spreading to other areas of the human body. It mainly starts in those areas of the skin that are the most affected by sun damage. Like the superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna looks flat or thin patch with a rough surrounding. Its colors range from tan to brown, dark brown, or blue-black. In its initial stages of growth on a patient’s skin, this type is known as Lentigo Maligna. But as the years go by and this disease starts affecting deeper parts of the human body, this disease known as lentigo maligna melanoma.

Acral lentiginous melanoma

Acral lentiginous melanoma is generally found in populations with darker skin tones or those with more melanin. For example, it is common for those with an African or HIspanic background to contract this disease. Acral lentiginous melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of all the types of melanoma and is not caused by sun exposure. They appear in less obvious places within the human body, such as underneath one’s finger nails, making it harder to accurately diagnose and identify it in patients. To the human eye, they generally look like a flat and small spot of skin and are either black or dark brown.

Nodular Melanoma

After superficial spreading melanoma, Nodular Melanoma takes the place of the most common type of skin cancer, by making up approximately 15 to 20% of all types. It is known to spread the most quickly out of all the other types of melanoma and it tends to grow deep into one’s skin. Nodular Melanoma resembles a polypoid, as the lesion itself tends to to stick out from the patient’s skin. In terms of color, it can be black, pink, red, or mimic your skin color. Typically, this disease begins on one’s chest, face, back, or any part of the skin that receives minimal sun exposure.

Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma, the type that takes place in one’s eye affects the cells that create pigment. Making up only 3% of all types of melanoma, ocular melanoma is classified as a very rare disease. However it takes the place as the most common type of eye cancer that occurs in adults.This disease begins in the second or the middle layer of the eye, which is known as the uvea. It is uncommon to find this type of melanoma to affect the conjunctiva of a patient’s eye. Due to the fact that ocular melanoma develops in the middle part of the eye, it isn’t possible for one to notice it in their day to day life, unlike other forms of melanoma. Making it even harder to find, ocular melanoma doesn’t cause any sort of symptoms or early signs of its appearance.

References:

Types of melanoma skin cancer – Canadian Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/melanoma/types-of-melanoma/?region=on

Melanoma. (2020, March 10). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/melanoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20374884

Melanoma. (2020, June 19). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma/

The Seven Different Types of Melanoma Skin Cancer. (2019, October 03). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://melanomaknowmore.com/types-of-melanoma/

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