There are four types of melanoma, and each type varies in how the tumor initially presents itself, how rapidly it grows, how it looks, and where on the body it can be found.
- Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common form of melanoma and can be found anywhere on the body. This type of melanoma will present as a new lesion on the skin or arise in an existing mole. Superficial melanoma appears as a flat, asymmetrical patch of discolored skin. This patch may be smooth or slightly raised, and it will have uneven borders.
- Nodular Melanoma is the most aggressive form of melanoma and accounts for 10-15% of all melanoma cases. This type of melanoma is typically found on the arms, legs, and torso. Unlike other types of melanoma, nodular melanoma will most often present as a new growth. Additionally, it grows deeper and more rapidly than the other types of melanoma.
- Lentigo maligna melanoma is the slowest growing type of melanoma and most often develops in patients over 40 years old. This type will present as a dark brown, tan, or black colored blotchy patch with uneven borders. Lentigo maligna melanoma is most often found on the face, ears, and upper torso.
- Acral lentiginous melanoma is the most common form of melanoma affecting African Americans. It is often hard to spot as it appears in places such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, and under the nails. This type of melanoma appears as a dark brown to black patch with uneven pigment.