Skin Cancer Melanoma Appearance and Signs
It cannot be over-emphasized that melanomas vary considerably in appearance-no single color or change is diagnostic. Fortunately, there are clinical clues that increase the index of suspicion and warrant biopsy. 30% of melanomas develop within a pre-existing nevus while the remaining 70% develop de novo. When melanoma develops in a pre-existing lesion, there is usually a focal area of color change. It is the distinction in color from the remainder of the lesion-not necessarily the color itself-that is the clinical clue. No one specific color is by itself diagnostic but should raise ones index of suspicion. Slate gray or deep blue may indicate melanin pigment deep within the dermis. Black may indicate melanin in the upper epidermis. Pink or red may indicate localized inflammation. White may indicate regression or scarring.