Cutaneous melanoma, or melanoma of the skin, is the most common type of melanoma worldwide.
Cutaneous melanoma is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and indoor tanning.
There are several subtypes of cutaneous melanoma, including superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, and amelanotic melanoma.
When caught early, cutaneous melanoma can be easily treated. Learn more about melanoma treatment options.
Superficial Spreading Melanoma
Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of cutaneous melanoma. It will slowly grow horizontally across the outermost layer of skin before beginning to invade into deeper layers of the skin.
Nodular melanoma is the second most common type of cutaneous melanoma. It is also the most aggressive form of melanoma. Nodular melanoma can quickly invade the deepest layers of the skin. Nodular melanoma generally looks like a quickly growing blue or black lump on the skin.
Lentigo Maligna and Lentigo Maligna Melanoma
Lentigo maligna, sometimes referred to as melanoma in situ – or stage 0 melanoma, is the most treatable form of melanoma. When it begins to invade further into the skin, it becomes the much more serious lentigo maligna melanoma. Both look like flat, or slightly raised, brown patches on the skin. They can be easily confused for age spots.
Amelanotic melanoma does not look like other types of melanoma. Instead of dark or even black spots on the body, amelanotic melanoma presents as a faint pinkish-looking mark on the skin. Because of this, amelanotic melanoma can be harder to detect.
Photos of Cutaneous Melanoma:
Photo Credit: CDC/ Carl Washington, M.D., Emory Univ. School of Medicine; Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH