Lentigo Maligna Melanoma

The incidence of melanoma has increased steadily in last decades. The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,380 new melanomas (about 46,870 in men and 29,510 in women) were diagnosed in the United States in 2016. The number of deaths from melanoma is estimated at 10,130 persons (about 6750 men and 3380 women).

Lentigo maligna is a deadly skin cancer, a subtype of melanoma in situ. It affects women more commonly than men. Lentigo maligna melanoma is one of the subtypes of invasive melanoma that represents 5-15% of cases.  Lentigo maligna melanoma most commonly occurs on sun-exposed skin,  especially of the face, more so in elderly persons but might affect people of  any age. It is characterized by an irregular border, more than one color, and large diameter. Lentigo maligna melanoma is most often found in the head and neck. Sometimes other areas are affected too.

The danger of this type of melanoma is that oftentimes it is mistaken for discoloration called melasma, freckle, age spot, liver spot or sun spot.

Risk factors:

• Ultraviolet radiation exposure
• Age
• Increased number of moles/freckles
• Fair skin
• Sunburn or sun poisoning
• Working outdoor
• Genetic: about 10% of melanomas are familial

The biopsy, performed by a health care professional (usually dermatologist) to diagnose lentigo maligna, does not influence patient survival or rate of metastasis. Previous concerns that incision into a melanoma promotes its dissemination have been allayed. Lentigo maligna is usually treated with surgery after biopsy confirm the diagnosis. Melanoma should be managed by a multidisciplinary team that includes a dermatologist, surgeon, and medical oncologist, as well as other allied health professionals. Since prevention of lentigo maligna is the best option, please do not ignore annual skin checks with your dermatology health care provider.

Date of Publication:
July 25, 2017 at 6:50 pm