Precancerous conditions of the skin
Lentigo maligna is a very early form of melanoma skin cancer called melanoma in situ. Cancer cells are only found in the top or outer layer of the skin (epidermis). It tends to grow slowly. If lentigo maligna isn’t treated, it may become a type of
Some doctors describe lentigo maligna as a
Lentigo maligna usually develops on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to the sun without protection, especially the face, head and neck. It most often happens in people in their 70s or 80s.
Risk factors @(Model.HeadingTag)>
The main risk factor for lentigo maligna is too much unprotected exposure to the sun. Older age also increases your chance of developing lentigo maligna.
Signs and symptoms @(Model.HeadingTag)>
Lentigo maligna is usually a flat, tan or brown patch on the skin with an uneven border. It tends to slowly get bigger and grows outward across the surface of the skin (called radial growth). The patch can include many different colours, often darker colours. Lentigo maligna can also look like a freckle that changes in size, shape or colour.
If you have signs and symptoms or your doctor thinks you might have lentigo maligna, you will be sent for tests. Tests used to diagnose lentigo maligna may include:
- a skin exam, which may include a dermoscopy
- an excisional biopsy (a type of surgical biopsy), punch biopsy or shave biopsy
Treatment options for lentigo maligna include:
- wide local
- Mohs surgery
- imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), which is a cream put directly on the skin (called topical therapy)
- radiation therapy
Expert review and references
BC Cancer Agency. Lentigo Maligna and Lentigo Malignant Melanoma. http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/books/skin-cancer-prevention-early-diagnosis-courses/course-readings/skin-cancer-early-diagnosis-readings/lentigo-maligna-and-lentigo-malignant-melanoma.
British Association of Dermatologists . Lentigo Maligna and Melanoma In Situ . 2014 : https://www.bad.org.uk/.
Kasprzak JM, Xu YG . Diagnosis and management of lentigo maligna: a review. Drugs in Context. 2015: 91: 1292-1313. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4453766/.
Tan WW, Heniford BT. Medscape Reference: Lentigo Maligna Melanoma. 2016: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/279839-overview.