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National Melanoma Support Line:
1300 884 450
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About Melanoma

National Melanoma Support Line:
1300 884 450
Two hands hold lovingly, one has a silver wedding band on

Rare Melanoma

A cancer diagnosis can be a scary and overwhelming experience. For those affected by a rarer types of cancer, and in particular, rare melanoma, these feelings may be amplified and finding credible information and support services are at times difficult. Here at Melanoma Patients Australia, we are here to support you on your melanoma journey and are available to provide evidence-based information and assistance for all melanoma types including those that are rare.

Melanoma is a type of cancer, most often found on the skin. Roughly 90% of melanomas form on sun-exposed skin. However, most rare melanoma subtypes form in or on parts of the body that are shielded from the sun (such as palms of hands, soles of feet, under fingernails, in eyes or internally).  

Rare melanomas are often difficult to diagnose as other possible, more common, causes are sometimes explored first.  

Below you will find more information on some of the more common of the rare melanomas.  

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Acral Melanoma

This melanoma has a short horizontal growth phase. Therefore, it is considered more aggressive than superficial spreading melanoma and less aggressive than nodular melanoma. This type of melanoma is found on the soles of the feet, on the palms or under the fingernails. It is the most common form of melanoma in Asians and dark skinned people.

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Ocular Melanoma

Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma is melanoma found in the eye, and is relatively uncommon, accounting for only 3% of all melanoma cases. It begins when melanocytes in the eye grow uncontrollably. There are two types of melanoma that occur in the eye; uveal (choroid, iris and ciliary body) and conjunctival (which occurs in the filmy white covering of the eye).

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Mucosal Melanoma

Melanoma, on rare occasions can also occur in the tissue that lines internal areas of the body called mucous membranes and is known as mucosal melanoma. This rare form of melanoma affects the pigment-producing cells of the mucous membranes, known as melanocytes. Mucosal melanoma occurs when the DNA of the melanocytes in the mucous membrane develops errors, causing the cells to grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a tumour.

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Melanoma Patients Australia would like to acknowledge the contributions made to development of the content for this page from Dr John McKenzie (Head of Oncology at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital); Professor Mark Smithers; Associate Professor Victoria Atkinson; Peta Holly (Ocular Oncology Nurse Consultant at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital) and Susan Vine.

 

If you are seeking information and support on a rare melanoma that is not listed, please reach out to the National Melanoma Telehealth Nurse Service to book a free and confidential consultation. Click here for more information and access to the referral from.