Lentigo (pl. Lentigenes) is a common benign condition. It is characterised by areas of melanocyte proliferation, and the hyperpigmentation of the epidermal basal cell layer in a linear fashion. Lentigo - a type of freckle that is a small tan, brown, or black spot which tends to be darker than the usual (ephelis-type) freckle and which do not fade in the winter. This kind of spot is referred to as lentigo simplex.
Solar lentigo is the medical term for "liver spots." These brownish, flat, round or oval spots are a result of sun exposure over many years and usually start showing up when people hit their 40s. The good news is that they are not cancerous, but they can be treated for cosmetic reasons.
The risk of lentigo maligna melanoma increases as the number of years of residence in sunnier climates (eg, southern United States) increases, and risk increases with increased hours of exposure to sunlight, increased amount of actinic damage, and a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Many authors consider lentigo maligna to be a preinvasive lesion induced by long-term cumulative ultraviolet injury. Conceptually, the term melanoma is used when atypical melanocytes invade the rich vascular and lymphatic networks of the dermis, thereby establishing metastatic potential. Lentigo maligna is mostly seen in patients 50 to 80 years old and accounts for ten to 15 percent of skin cancer cases.
The doctor may evaluate sites of lentigo maligna, the speed of progression and the general health and fitness of the patient when choosing a treatment. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may all be used in the treatment of lentigo maligna. Surgery rarely cures the disease, and may be used as a last resort after other treatments have failed. After the initial diagnosis, the doctor may recommend the patient be examined every three months for two years, and twice a year thereafter.
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