Skin Disorders
Bookmark and Share
   Acquired Melanocytic Nevocellular Nevi
   Acral Lentiginous Melanoma
   Acute HIV Syndrome
   Acute Lymphangitis
   Acute Sun Damage
   Adult T Cell Leukemia
   Adverse Cutaneous Drug Reactions
   Alopecia Areata
   Androgenetic Alopecia
   Aphthous Ulcer
   Bacillary Angiomatosis
   Bacterial Infections
   Basal Cell Carcinoma
   Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome
   Behcet's Syndrome
   Benign Cutaneous Neoplasms
   Capillary Hemangioma of Infancy
   Cat-Scratch Disease
   Chronic Lupus Panniculitis
   Chronic Venous Insufficiency
   Clark Melanocytic Nevus
   Congenital Nevomelanocytic Nevus
   Crest Syndrome
   Cutaneous Candidiasis
   Cutaneous Larva Migrans
   Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
   Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis
   Cutaneous Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections
   Cutaneous Reactions to Arthropod Bites
   Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma
   Desmoplastic Melanoma
   Disseminated Coccidioidomycosis
   Disseminated Cryptococcosis
   Disseminated Gonococcal Infection
   Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
   Drug Hypersensitivity Syndrome
   Drug-Induced Acute Urticaria
   Drug-Induced Pigmentation
   Eosinophilic Folliculitis
   Erysipelas and Cellulitis
   Erythema Infectiosum
   Erythropoietic Protoporphyria
   Exanthematous Drug Reactions
   Exfoliative Erythroderma Syndrome
   Extramammary Paget's Disease
   Eye Stye
   Fixed Drug Eruption
   Gangrenous Cellulitis
   Genital Candidiasis
   Giant Cell Arteritis
   Glucagonoma Syndrome
   Graft Versus Host Disease
   Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease
   Herpes Gestationis
   Herpes Simplex Virus: Genital Infections
   Herpes Simplex Virus Infection
   Herpes Simplex Virus: Infections Associated Systemic Immunocompromise
   Herpes Simplex Virus
   Herpes Zoster
   HIV Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome
   Human Papillomavirus: Mucosal Infections
   Human Papillomavirus: Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Situ
   Human Papillomavirus
   Hypersensitivity Vasculitis
   Hypertrophic Scars and Keloid
   Impetigo and Ecthyma
   Infectious Exanthems
   Infectious Folliculitis
   Infective Endocarditis
   Infestations of the Skin
   Kaposi's Sarcoma
   Kawasaki's Disease

Home :: Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) is one of two major cancers [SSM and nodular melanoma (NM)] that arise in melanocytes of persons with white skin. It arises most frequently on the upper back and occurs as a moderately slow-growing lesion over a period of years. SSM has a distinctive morphology: a uniformly elevated, flattened lesion (plaque). The pigment variegation of SSM is similar to but often less striking than the variety of color present in most lentigo maligna melanomas. The color display is a mixture of brown, dark brown, blue, black, and red, with slate-gray or gray regions in areas of tumor regression.

Causes of Superficial Spreading Melanoma

In the early stages of growth there is an intraepidermal or "radial growth" phase, during which tumorigenic pigment cells are confined to the epidermis and thus cannot metastasize (called melanoma in situ) or "thin" SSM, in which the tumor cells are confined to the epidermis and upper dermis. This "grace period" of the radial growth phase, with potential for cure, is followed by the invasive "vertical growth" phase, in which malignant cells consist of a tumorigenic nodule that invades the dermis with potential for metastasis.

The pathophysiology of SSM is not yet understood. Certainly, in some considerable number of SSM, sunlight exposure is a factor, and both SSM and NM are related to occasional bursts of recreational sun exposure during a susceptible period (<14 years). About 10% of the 47,000 new melanomas each year occur in high­risk families. The rest of the cases may occur sporadically among persons without a specific genetic risk. Persons at high risk inherit the gene in a mutated form of a normal gene that controls melanocytic proliferation.

Symptoms of Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Melanoma usually appears first as a flat or slightly raised growth that displays a variety of colors, such as black and brown, or gray, pink, blue, and white. Its edges are poorly outlined and may blur into the surrounding skin. Its shape is often asymmetrical, so that if one could fold it in half, the edges would not meet. The growth may not exhibit any symptoms, or it may bleed, itch, ooze, or feel sore. The sites where growths commonly occur include the trunk, especially the upper back; the lower legs; the head; and the neck.

Melanoma typically originates in the upper layer of the skin but can rapidly penetrate into deeper layers and then spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to distant sites in the body. Common areas of metastasis are the lungs, liver, brain, and bone.


In most cases, melanoma arises on an area of skin that can be easily examined. Most trained clinicians can accurately diagnose the tumor in 80% to 90% of cases. Clinical presentation (how the growth looks) and the patient's history of a new or changing growth raises suspicions of melanoma. In these cases a biopsy, or skin sample, is obtained for evaluation by a dermatopathologist, an expert at examining and diagnosing diseases of the skin.

Epiluminescence microscopy (ELM) may be used to help diagnose melanoma. In this test, a physician uses a hand-held device called a dermatoscope to examine the lesion. Certain diagnostic criteria have been reported which help distinguish the lesion as benign or malignant.

In some cases, nearby lymph nodes are examined to detect tumor cells that have spread. In this procedure, which is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy, dye is injected at the tumor site, and the dye eventually travels to the nearest lymph node and stains it. The lymph node is removed and examined under the microscope for melanoma cells. This procedure can be used to help the physician determine the stage of the disease.


Biopsy Total excisional biopsy with narrow margins-optimal biopsy procedure, where possible. Incisional or punch biopsy acceptable when total excisional biopsy cannot be performed or when lesion is large, requiring extensive surgery to remove the entire lesion.

Surgical Treatment

More Skin Disorders
   Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis
   Leg Ulcers
   Lentigo Maligna
   Leukemia Cutis
   Livedo Reticularis
   Localized Infection
   Lupus Erythematosus
   Lyme Borreliosis
   Lymphogranuloma Venereum
   Lymphomatoid Papulosis
   Malignant Melanoma of the Mucosa
   Mammary Paget's Disease
   Mastocytosis Syndromes
   Merkel Cell Carcinoma
   Metastatic Cancer to the Skin
   Molluscum Contagiosum
   Mycobacterium Fortuitum Complex Infection
   Mycobacterium Marinum Infection
   Mycobacterium Ulcerans Infection
   Necrobiosis Lipoidica
   Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Infections
   Nodular Melanoma
   Nodular Vasculitis
   Nongenital Herpes Simplex Virus Infection
   North American Blastomycosis
   Oral Hairy Leukoplakia
   Oropharyngeal Candidiasis
   Other Viral Infections
   Papulosquamous Conditions
   Pediculosis Capitis
   Pediculosis Pubis
   Photoallergic Drug Induced Photosensitivity
   Phototoxic Drug Induced Photosensitivity
   Pitted Keratolysis
   Pityriasis Versicolor
   Polyarteritis Nodosa
   Polymorphous Light Eruption
   Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
   Port-Wine Stain
   Premalignant and Malignant Skin Tumors
   Pressure Ulcers
   Pruritic Urticarial Papules
   Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum
   Pyogenic Granuloma
   Radiation Dermatitis
   Raynaud's Disease
   Reiter's Syndrome
   Rocky Mountain Spotted Fevers
   X-Linked Hyper-IgM Syndrome
   Xeroderma Pigmentosum
   Yellow Fever
   Yellow Nail Syndrome
   Zinc Deficiency

Skin Disorders || Contact Us || Tweet

Copyright © All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer - The data contained in the Web pages is provided for the purpose of educational purposes and information only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and shall not create a physician - patient relationship. We are not responsible for any consequence resulted from using this information. Please always consult your physician for medical advices and treatment.