Malignant melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. It can appear anywhere on the skin, and may spread to other areas of the body.
At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, we have the knowledge and expertise to manage all varieties of malignant melanoma.
Our team of fellowship trained surgical oncologists has years of training and experience treating people with cancer. We use the latest research findings to care for patients and offer the most advanced cancer clinical trials. We believe in a multidisciplinary approach, and work with specialists in a variety of fields to offer you the highest standard of care.
Types of Malignant Melanoma
Malignant melanoma affects people in several different ways. These ways include:
- Superficial spreading – This common type of melanoma appears as a smooth shape with uneven borders. It can be bluish or brownish.
- Lentigo maligna – This type of melanoma generally affects older adults and appears as flat and brown on the arms, face, and neck.
- Nodular – This type of melanoma is bumpy and can either be black, blue, red, or even colorless.
- Acral lentiginous – This type of melanoma typically affects the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Malignant Melanoma Risk Factors
A variety of factors can put you at a higher risk for developing malignant melanoma. These risk factors include:
- You have a family history of melanoma
- You have a combination of fair skin, green or blue eye color, and red or blonde hair
- You have spent extended periods of time in the sun
- You often use tanning beds
- You had one or more serious blistering sunburns as a child
- You have certain kinds of moles or birthmarks
Malignant Melanoma Symptoms
Certain types of moles can indicate the presence of malignant melanoma. If the mole has any of what we call the “ABCDEs of melanoma,” you should be sure to show it to your doctor. These characteristics are:
- Asymmetry – The shape of the mole is different on one side than it is on the other.
- Borders – The edges of the mole do not form a recognizable shape.
- Color – The mole is not one solid color. Rather, it can be different shades of light or dark brown, black, white or red.
- Diameter – The mole grows in size.
- Evolving – The mole changes in size or color.
In addition to these symptoms, malignant melanomas can feel irritated, uncomfortable, and even bleed.
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