Amelanotic melanoma is a rare type of melanoma in which the cells do not make melanin. These skin lesions can be pink, red, purple or normal skin color, making them incredibly difficult to diagnose. They typically have an asymmetrical shape, and an irregular faintly pigmented border. Their atypical appearance usually results in delay of diagnosis, with a poor prognosis and high recurrence rate. Remember, if it is a new or changing skin lesion, it demands attention!
Skin Cancer/ Melanoma Statistics (Adapted from Skincancer.org)
• Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually
• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime
• One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 57 minutes).
• A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns
• One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life
• The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or other organs, is about 98 percent in the US. The survival rate falls to 62 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 15 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs
• Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent