What are the types of melanoma?

Female patient at a doctor's appointment

In situ melanomas

These affect the top layers of the skin and in time may invade the deeper layers of the skin. 

  • Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type. It grows along the surface of your skin, often on the legs or chest and back. It may grow out of a mole that has suddenly changed. 
  • Lentigo melanoma is usually found in older people and often on your face and neck. It often begins as a small, brown freckle or stain and gradually spreads to form a bumpy surface. It can grow slowly over many years.
  • Acral melanoma is usually found in the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or around the finger or toenails. It is more common in dark-skinned people. 

Invasive melanoma

A more serious type, which has penetrated deeper into the skin and may have spread to other parts of the body.

  • Nodular melanoma is the second most common type and more common in men. It grows quite quickly down into the deeper skin layers. It may occur in normal skin that is not exposed to the sun very often. It has a raised area on the skin and may be brown or black in colour.
  • Amelanotic melanoma is rare. It may have no colour or be slightly red.  

Melanoma of the eye is a rare melanoma. It develops in the lining of the eyeball called the uvea. Your doctor might call it uveal melanoma. We have more information about eye cancer.

If you would like more information on any type of melanoma, contact our Support Line on 1800 200 700 or call into a Daffodil Centre to talk to a cancer nurse.

For more information

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