What Does this Mean for Me?
Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM)A in situ (local melanoma) is not dangerous. However, it can become potentially life-threatening if the melanoma grows into surrounding tissue. Prognosis depends on multiple factors, such as gender, race, age and clinical features of the tumor. ALM is best treated with a wide local excision performed by a qualified physician. Early detection and adequate patient education are crucial for improving survival in patients affected by ALM. Patients who require digit or limb amputation for treatment purposes may experience loss of function of the affected limb, significant interference with their activities of daily living, poor cosmetic outcomes and phantom pain. Large excisions may also lead to painful scarring and contractures.
Subungual Melanoma (SM) is a type of malignant melanoma that occurs in the nails. SM presents as brown-black discolorations in the nails that can progress to painful destruction of the nails. Unlike melanoma on the skin, subungual melanoma is not related to sun exposure. It is important to consider other causes of discoloration to the nails such as fungal infection or bruising.
- ALM can present as dark spots or bruises on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet that do not go away or won’t heal. [i]
- SM can present as a dark vertical stripe on the fingernails or toenails. [i]
Get a skin examination with your family doctor or a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in treating skin, nails and hair) if you possess any risk factors or if you have an area of concern so they can note if there is anything on your body that warrants further attention. Find a dermatologist.
Use the Alphabet of Nail melanoma To help identify Subungual Melanoma (SM)