Types of Melanoma

Last Modified: September 24, 2006

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Are there different types of melanoma?


Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, responds:

There are four general types of melanoma: superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo malignant melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma, and nodular melanoma. Additionally, melanoma can arise in the mucosal surfaces or in the ocular region, known as mucosal melanoma and ocular melanoma, respectively.

After the initial biopsy is performed, and again after the wide excision, a pathology report is issued by the dermatopathologist. This pathology report further describes many aspects of the melanoma, including the type, the depth of invasion, the tissue level of invasion, the presence or absence of a lymphatic response, ulceration, regression, satellite lesions, and blood/lymph/nerve invasion. Additionally, the pathology report will describe if the excised lesion is a primary melanoma, in which case it would be described using the terms above, or a metastatic melanoma deposit. Metastatic melanoma is when the cancer cells spread within the subcutaneous skin tissue in the site of the original tumor. These lesions are often called "in-transit metastases".

Read more about pathology reports.

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