Superficial spreading melanoma

This is the most common type of melanoma in the UK and superficial spreading melanoma is most common in people with pale skin and freckles. This type of melanoma initially grows superficially, spreading outwards on the skin. However they may then grow downwards, reaching deeper layers of skin and posing a threat of spreading.

Superficial spreading melanomas typically have irregular borders and uneven pigmentation. Visit your GP if you have a mole or lesion that grows or changes shape.

Nodular Melanoma

This type of melanoma develops more rapidly and quickily grow vertically downwards into the deeper layers of skin.

Nodular melanomas typically present as a raised, nodular lesion with irregular patches of colour and an irregular border. They are most common on the head, back and chest and may bleed or ooze. Some nodular melanomas have no pigmentation.

Lentigo Maligna Melanoma

Lentigo maligna melanomas are most common in older people who have spent a lot of time outdoors and in the sun. They develop over several years in areas of skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, head and neck.

Lentigo maligna melanomas begin flat and look like a large, dark freckle. They grow outwards and may change shape. They may then grow downwards into the deeper layers of skin and form a lump.

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Acral lentiginous melanomas are rare and form on the palms, soles of feet and around the nail.

Acral lentiginous melanomas are most common in people with dark skin, but they can occur in any skin colour.

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Amelanotic Melanoma

Amelanotic melanoma is a less common form of melanoma that has little or no colour.

These melanomas can be pink or red, and as they are not the typical brown or black colour, they can be difficult to diagnose.

Rare forms of melanoma

Mucosal melanoma

Mucosal melanoma is a rare type of melanoma that occurs on mucosal surfaces, such as the nasal passages, sinuses, oral cavity, anus and vagina.

View our mucosal melanoma patient guides

Uveal (ocular) melanoma

Ocular or uveal melanoma is melanoma that occurs in the eye. Similar to melanoma of the skin, these rare melanomas arise from the pigment cells in the eye called melanocytes.

View our uveal patient guide