Melanoma Of Toenail

Melanoma is nothing but the cancerous growth of melanocytes that produces melanin. Acral lentiginous melanoma is generally considered as melanoma of toenail. Acral lentiginous melanoma is one type of melanoma. The incidence of this type of melanoma can be as high as 5% of the incidence of melanoma.

Nail Fungus

One interesting observation about this type of melanoma is that it is the common form of melanoma that affects Asians. Asians or the persons having darker skin are more susceptible to this kind of melanoma. Nearly 50% of the melanoma patients in Asia are suffering from acral lentiginous melanoma. This goes to say the importance of this type of melanoma.

Acral lentiginous melanoma is commonly referred as hidden melanoma. The reason is that these melanomas are noticed in places that are not commonly examined for presence of melanoma. One will be surprised know that these melanomas can develop in the sole region, palm region, mucous membranes of the female genitals, mouth, and nose and near or under the toenail.

The appearance of melanoma of toenail

It is not all that easy to diagnose the acral lentiginous melanoma in its early stages as they resemble nail streak or bruise at that stage. This melanoma will look like a narrow but dark stripe below the toenail and hardly visible to the eye.

Usually this type of melanomas is seen under the toenail or thumb nail. But this doesn’t mean that they cannot be seen under other nails of the toe or finger. In most cases this melanoma is only benign. In case the person notices any streak in the nail in the absence of trauma or a streak that is increasing in its size or the nail that is getting separated from the nail bed, he/she must waste no time in consulting a dermatologist as these can be the beginning of acral litigious melanoma.

In case of non pigmented acral lentiginous melanoma of the toe, there won’t be any streak formation and the melanoma will look like a chronic infection of the nail bed. As the acral litigious melanoma grows in size, it attains irregular shape but the surface of the melanoma is flat, always. The melanoma may have yellow, brown or black color and at times it can be colorless also.


As far as the treatment of benign type of melanoma of toenail is concerned, the surgery is the best. But in case the melanoma is of malignant type, radiation therapy and the chemotherapy can be attempted. With the advancement in the field of cancer therapy, the melanomas can be cured if detected early.
Benign melanoma – melanoma that doesn’t spread to other tissues. Malignant melanoma – melanoma that spreads to the other tissues.

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