The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma skin cancer. Though it may lead to death, if recognized and treated early, it is possible to completely cure the disease. Melanoma skin cancer is not a common form of skin cancer but it can cause death.
In melanoma skin cancer, the tumor originates in the melanocytes, which are cells that are responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that colors skin, eyes and hair. Most of the melanomas are black or brown; while there may be some melanomas which are skin colored, red, blue, purple, pink or white. Melanoma skin cancer is divided into four categories where three of them occupy the top layers of the skin and are sometimes invasive in nature. It is the fourth type of cancer that is invasive from its inception and serious as it penetrates deep into the skin and may spread to other parts of the body.
70% of this cancer is the superficial spreading form that is most common in young people. It travels on the top layer of the skin for some time, before penetrating deep into the body. The first sign of the cancer is flat or raised discolored patch with irregular borders in a geometrical form. Its color varies and can occur in any previously benign mole. This skin cancer is found anywhere on the body, but is most likely to occur in women’s legs, men’s trunk or the upper back in both.
Lentigo maligna is similar to the superficial melanoma as it too remains close to the skin surface. It appears as a flat or slightly elevated mottled tan or dark brown discoloration. This cancer is predominant in the elderly and its causes are chronic sun exposure, damage of facial skin and skin on ears, arms and upper trunk. If this cancer becomes invasive, it is referred to as lentigo maligna melanoma.
Though acral lentiginous melanoma is a form of melanoma that also spreads superficially before deep penetration in the body, it is different from the other forms of melanoma as it appears as black or brown discoloration under the nails or soles of feet and palms. This form of melanoma skin cancer is common in African-Americans and Asians and least common in Caucasians.
When first diagnosed, nodular melanoma skin cancer is invasive. It is when it becomes a bump that is blue, brown, tan, red, white, gray or skin tone that its malignancy be recognized. This form of skin cancer is predominant on arms, legs and trunks of elderly people, and the scalp of men.