Watch Out for This Sneaky Type of Skin Cancer

Source: New Jersey Monthly, August 2019

“When patients ask me what to look for in skin cancer, I tell them that pink is the new black because so many harmless-looking pink lesions ultimately turn out to be melanomas,” says Dr. Lauren Cooper of Affiliated Dermatologists and Dermatologic Surgeons in Morristown, Mt. Arlington and Bridgewater. “Sometimes we biopsy skin-colored moles and freckles, and even we dermatologists are surprised that they are early skin cancers.”

It’s known as amelanotic melanoma, a serious and often difficult to diagnose type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make melanin or pigment. Because of this lack of color, diagnosis is tricky and is often delayed until the lesion becomes more prominent in an advanced stage.

“We try to identify these types of skin-colored melanomas early. Just as a baby doesn’t look like an adult, an early-stage, pink melanoma doesn’t always fit the typical description of an advanced melanoma,” says Cooper.

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