Amelanotic melanoma refers to a rare variant of skin cancer. It begins when the melanocytes in the skin grow out of control and form tumors. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for making melanin, the pigment that determines the color of the skin.
Amelanotic melanoma is different from other skin melanomas in that it appears as a pink or red spot on the skin. Because it is often overlooked or confused with other benign skin lesions, amelanotic melanoma may be diagnosed at a later stage compared with brown, black, or blue melanomas. Approximately 5 percent of melanomas overall are amelanotic.
Any subtype of melanoma can appear amelanotic, including superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, desmoplastic melanoma, and spitzoid melanoma.
Treatment for Amelanotic Melanoma
Amelanotic melanoma is highly curable when diagnosed early. The goals for treatment of melanoma are to:
- cure the cancer
- preserve the appearance of your skin
- prevent the cancer from coming back
The extent and depth of the melanoma guides your care plan. Treatment often involves surgery to remove the melanoma. If the melanoma is more advanced and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes or internal organs, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of therapies may be used to shrink the tumor.