Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer and is responsible for 78% of skin cancer deaths. There are a few different types of this serious skin cancer. One of them, acral lentiginous melanoma, makes up about 3% of melanoma diagnoses. Here are five things you need to know about this rare type of melanoma.
What are the signs of acral lentiginious melanoma?
This type of melanoma usually develops on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. At first, they look like harmless freckles, but over time, they will grow larger and take on a warty texture. These growths have a variable color and can contain many shades of brown and black. You may also see dots or bumps within the growth. You may also see inflammation around the growth; doctors call this swelling "regression".
What causes it?
Researchers still don't know what causes acral lentiginous melanoma. Unlike other types of melanoma, it isn't caused by excessive sun exposure. More research needs to be done to identify possible causes of this type of melanoma.
Who gets acral lentiginous melanoma?
This type of melanoma is more common among older people. The mean age at diagnosis is 63.1 years for men and 62.2 years for women. It's the most common type of melanoma among black people, but people of any race can develop acral lentiginous melanoma.
How is it treated?
The main treatment for melanomas of all kinds is surgical removal. The entire melanoma will be removed as well as a margin of healthy cells. Removing the surrounding healthy cells ensures that no cancerous cells are left behind. A margin of between 0.5 cm and 2 cm will be removed, depending on the size of your melanoma.
What is the survival rate?
The survival rate for acral lentiginous melanoma is lower than for other types of melanoma. The five-year survival rate for this condition is 80.3%, while the ten-year survival rate is 67.5%. Like other types of skin cancer, your chances of survival are best if you get treatment early, before the cancer gets a chance to spread to other parts of your body. Make sure to see your dermatologist immediately if you think you have this condition.
If you notice new freckles on your palms or soles, or notice that existing freckles are bigger than they used to be, see a dermatologist, like those at Advanced Dermatology Care, right away. You may have acral lentiginous melanoma.