We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Amelanotic Melanoma?

By Nick Doniger
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Though most types of the skin lesions known as melanomas appear dark and are easily noticeable, amelanotic melanomas are free of dark pigmentation. Like any other type of melanoma, they are cancerous. Many different types of melanoma may appear amelanotic. The prognosis and treatment for amelanotic melanoma is similar to that of most other types of melanoma.

Amelanotic melanomas appear as lesions with little to no pigmentation but with a lightly pigmented border. These lesions may look white, pinkish, or reddish, and are generally scar-like in appearance. Most melanomas are pigmented due to a chemical called melanin, produced by melanocyte cells. Melanin protects skin from the sun and causes dark skin coloration. For reasons not yet known, amelanotic melanomas are completely devoid of melanin.

Due to the lack of dark color normally present in most types of melanomas, amelanotic melanoma is at risk of going unnoticed for a long period of time. It often goes undiagnosed until increasing in size, or until the area begins to bleed and itch profusely. Because of all of this, and as a result of frequent misdiagnosis, amelanotic melanomas tend to be quite advanced when finally diagnosed. This type of melanoma accounts for fewer than five percent of all diagnoses.

Many different types of melanoma may be described as amelanotic, including desmoplastic melanoma. This particular type of amelanotic melanoma often appears under the fingernails or toenails, though may also be present on the head or neck as a prominent tumor. Desmoplastic melanoma is sometimes discovered after a patient undergoes cryotherapy, which is used for treating a serious condition known as lentigo meligna melanoma. The prognosis for desmoplastic melanoma is somewhat more unique than the prognosis of many other types of melanoma. For unknown reasons, the survival duration of patients with such lesions tends to be longer than that of other skin cancer sufferers.

If a lesion fitting the description of amelanotic melanoma appears on the skin, particularly if found next to a previously treated melanoma, it is recommended that a doctor is consulted immediately for an examination. If contracted, amelanotic melanoma may be treated in the same fashion as other melanoma types. Surgery tends to be difficult for these lesions, though it is an option, and chemotherapy may be necessary if such lesions advance to a cancerous stage. The greatest risk factors of any type of melanoma are sun exposure, light complexion, a family history of melanoma contraction, or a large number of moles, particularly if such moles are abnormally shaped.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On May 09, 2011

@Mor - Though it is good to look up melanoma pictures to see what to look for, it's important to remember that most of the images online are of more advanced amelanotic melanomas and so the tumors are usually shown as pink or red.

But, in earlier stages, amelanotic melanomas might not look that different from your ordinary skin. So don't just rely on the pictures. Take anything out of the ordinary to your doctor.

By Mor — On May 08, 2011

It sounds like it's difficult to identify this kind of melanoma, but searching for pictures of amelanotic melanoma online can help. That way you can learn what they look like, so you can catch them. Luckily, amelanotic melanomas are very rare.

The earlier they are caught, the better, so if you have fair skin you should be checking it all the time.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.