Amelanotic melanoma - not easily recognized by the five signs of skin cancer

What is amelanotic melanoma?

It is a type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make melanin. These cells appear as a normal flesh tone or they may be a slight pink, purple or red, making them difficult to recognize.

As they can be easily misdiagnosed by your dermatologist and go undetected by you, they progress to an advanced stage, making the Prognosis worse.

In this type of melanoma, it is the absence of melanin, the protective pigment that gives your skin its color, that distinguishes it(AM) from other types of Melanoma which appear as dark mole-like growths.

Amelanotic Melanoma Pictures

amelanotic Melanoma
Amelanoyic Melanoma
Amelanotic Melanoma

Be sure to have any suspicious lesions on your skin checked out, whether they look like the above pictures or not.

The danger of this melanoma skin lesion is that people dismiss and ignore it as seemingly non-life threatening.

All types of melanoma can appear with amelanotic lesions.

Desmoplastic Melanoma

Any one of all the different types of melanoma could also be amelanotic, but one type, in particular, is called desmoplastic melanoma (DM).

DM is found most commonly under the nail and in the head and neck area of older folks with sun damaged skin.

It can be difficult to diagnose by using the Five Signs Of Skin Cancer as a guide.

It may appear as an innocent mole, scar or a cyst. Because it is amelanotic, it will have no or very little coloration.

The recurrence rate of DM is high because the tumor cells are of a spindle shape, thus being difficult to remove adequately by surgical excision.

Amelanotic Melanoma In The Lower Extremities

AM, because of its lack of pigment is very often diagnosed at a later stage and a deeper level, especially on the feet.

 AM has been known to be treated as a diabetic foot ulcer by physicians.

As it is not recognized as a melanoma, it is not biopsied and continues to a later stage.

Some treatments for complications of diabetes actually contribute to the advancing of the cancer.

Be Aware

Any scar-like skin lesion that appears and grows next to a previously treated melanoma should be examined immediately by a well qualified dermatologist.

One study finds that there is a 13 month average delay in diagnosis because of the lack of pigmentation and the lack of treatments for misdiagnosis. These amelanotic melanomas are very often advanced when found.

Use the Five Signs of Skin Cancer and do regular Self Skin Exams, but DO NOT totally rely on the pictures shown or what you may read.

Remember that AM is colorless or very slight in color, making it difficult to be recognized.

Pay close attention to what’s going on with your skin and don’t always rely on the diagnosis of a first opinion (it may be a misdiagnosis).

The particular Dr. you see may not have any experience with this dangerous type of melanoma.

Go for a second opinion or even a third, especially if your gut tells you so!

Guard Your Health!

Links related to A Melanoma:

Malignant Melanoma
Nodular Melanoma
Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Go from Amelanotic Melanoma to Types of Skin Cancer
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Five Signs of Skin Cancer
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Amelanotic Melanoma
Updated July 1, 2015


Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  

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Bottom Line
The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
It can be hard to spot, even for a professional.
The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion  and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t put your very life at risk!