A lentigo can pass as a mole or birthmark; can it ever become a melanoma?

Whether or not a lentigo, which often looks just like a small mole or birth mark, could morph into melanoma, here is what Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a board certified dermatologist with Baxt CosMedical, explains:

“Usually no, but there is a variant of melanoma called lentigo maligna which is basically a lentigo gone bad that grows and becomes a melanoma.

A lentigo maligna. Omar Bari, Philip R. Cohen

“The good news is that these are rarely aggressive; they are usually melanoma ‘in-situ’ [confined to the site of its origin] in its earliest stage, and they grow slowly so there is lots of time to catch them before they become a problem.

“They are most common on the face of older people.  If left to grow large, they can be very difficult to remove surgically.”

Dr. Baxtdr. baxt is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU and a member of the Skin Cancer Foundation. She also specializes in laser treatments, skin rejuvenation procedures, acne treatment and rosacea treatment.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.