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Cumberland Skin dermatologist examining and diagnosing a mole, which could be a type of melanoma

Learn About the Different Types of Melanoma Skin Cancer

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard of melanoma skin cancer. Though this skin cancer isn’t as prevalent as other types, such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma, melanoma skin cancer is the most dangerous and life-threatening out of the three due to its increased chance of spreading to other areas of the body. 

This is why it’s important to not only reduce your risk by taking preventative steps, like wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun during peak hours, but also learning more about melanoma so you can better understand how it can impact you and your loved ones. 

Today we’re covering the different types of melanoma to help you identify and recognize how this skin cancer can manifest on the body. If you’re wanting to learn more about melanoma in general, take a look at this article on melanoma awareness and how to lower your risk


Different Types of Melanoma 

When it comes to the different types of melanoma, you’ll find there are more common types, rare types, and non-skin types. We’re covering all of them below to give you a better idea of how this dangerous cancer can impact your overall health. 


The 4 Most Common Types of Melanoma 

Superficial Special Melanoma (SSM)

According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, this type makes up 70 percent of all melanoma cases, making it the most common type of melanoma skin cancer doctors diagnose today. SSM typically grows outward (called radial growth) and spreads across the surface of the skin. 

This type of melanoma often forms at the spot of a mole, and it typically has irregular borders, may be raised, and can be different shades of red, blue, brown, black, grey, and white. 


Nodular Melanoma 

Accounting for about 15 to 20 percent of all melanoma cases, nodular melanoma is the second most common type of this skin cancer. Nodular melanoma grows down into the skin, but it often grows slightly upwards and forms a small raised spot on the skin. This type of melanoma grows faster than others and usually develops on the face, chest or back. 


Lentigo Maligna Melanoma

This common type of melanoma most often develops in older people with very sun-damaged skin and accounts for around 10 to 15 percent of all melanoma cases. It typically shows up on the face, scalp, or neck and often causes a blotchy appearance. 


Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Out of all types of melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma is the most common form in people of color. However, it can affect people of all races and backgrounds. It is not related to sun exposure and often develops on the soles of the feet, on the palms of the hands or under the nails. Acral lentiginous melanoma typically appears as a small, flat spot of discolored skin that is often dark brown or black.


Rare Types of Melanoma 

Rarer types of melanomas include amelanotic melanoma, nevoid melanoma, spitzoid melanoma, and desmoplastic melanoma. 

Amelanotic melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of all melanoma cases, while desmoplastic accounts for around 4 percent. Nevoid and spitzoid melanoma are rarer and, as they often look similar to benign skin growths, can be challenging to diagnose. 


Eye Melanoma 

Not all forms of melanoma begin in the skin. Eye melanoma, also called uveal or ocular melanoma, is a type of eye cancer. Eye melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer found in adults and can appear as a dark spot on the eyelids or iris or a change in the shape of the pupil. 


Mucosal Melanoma

This is an internal form of melanoma, as it develops in the mucus membranes that line some organs or other parts of the body, rather than in the skin. Similar to other types of melanomas, mucosal melanoma is not related to sun exposure


Learn More About Skin Cancer at Cumberland Skin

Have you noticed a suspicious spot on your skin and need a professional evaluation? Early detection is key to finding the
most effective skin cancer treatment! The board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin are experts in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating many different types of skin cancers, including melanoma skin cancer. 

To learn more about skin cancer or to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist, request an appointment online or get in touch with our office today by calling 615-449-5771


Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology provides effective, compassionate general dermatology, skin cancer surgery and cosmetic dermatology solutions for our patients throughout the Southeast. With offices in Hermitage, Lebanon, Brentwood and Hendersonville, Tennessee, we’re your destination for high-caliber skincare. Visit our website at or give us a call today at 615-449-5771.

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