Desmoplastic Melanoma

Desmoplastic melanoma is an uncommon type of melanoma, “in which the malignant cells are surrounded by fibrous tissue.”*

It’s most often diagnosed in pale-toned Caucasian men who are of advancing age, or who are elderly. In New Zealand, (which along with Australia sits atop the list of countries with the highest overall prevalence of skin cancer) desmoplastic melanoma accounts for around 1% of all melanomas. That percentage is likely comparable to its rate of occurrence within the United States.

As one might expect, overexposure to the sun’s harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays is the primary culprit in the development of desmoplastic melanoma. It’s another result that illustrates why the continual practice of sun-safety is so vital to everyone.

Unfortunately, the appearance of this form of melanoma doesn’t conform to the ABCDE signs  created by dermatologists to help the public know what to look for during their monthly skin self-exams.

That being the case, it’s important to have some idea of what skin growths to be wary of when checking for desmoplastic melanoma. To that effect, presented here are 3 photographs that depict a few of its various looks:

 

 

 

 

Of course, 3 pictures cannot tell the whole story of any disease. So, in a quote from the cited Derm Net New Zealand article, this is what to pay attention for:

“The most frequently observed dermoscopic features of desmoplastic melanoma are:

  • Features of melanocytic lesion in 50% (pigmented globules or network)
  • Asymmetrical structure and colours
  • Regression features: scar-like areas, grey dots
  • Multiple colours
  • Atypical or polymorphous vascular pattern”

Just like with traditional melanoma, desmoplastic melanoma is first dealt with by being excised and biopsied in order to determine the extent of any damage that has been incurred.

*Additional source articles: Dermnetnz.org, Skincancer.org (ABCDE information)

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