Seborrheic Keratosis vs Melanoma: Difference and Comparison

The human body is very complex, and now and then, there are many diseases related to different parts of the body that we have to deal with.

While skin diseases are uncommon, many people suffer from many kinds of skin conditions, either less complicated or deadly.

Such two types of skin conditions that look very similar are Seborrheic keratosis and Melanoma which behave very differently.

Key Takeaways

  1. Seborrheic keratosis is a benign, non-cancerous skin growth, whereas melanoma is a potentially deadly skin cancer.
  2. Seborrheic keratosis has a waxy, scaly appearance and can vary in color, while melanoma has irregular borders and an asymmetrical shape.
  3. Treatment for seborrheic keratosis involves removal for cosmetic reasons, whereas melanoma requires early detection and aggressive treatment to improve survival rates.

Seborrheic Keratosis vs Melanoma

Seborrheic Keratosis is benign skin growth that is commonly seen in the elderly people. They are brown and oval shaped with a waxy and raised appearance. Melanoma is a dangerous, cancerous skin condition that is caused by genetics and UV rays exposure. It requires special surgical treatment to eliminate the cancer cells.

Seborrheic Keratosis vs Melanoma
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Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin condition that can happen between the teenage years to older age but is very common in the elderly.

They don’t cause much harm and don’t need any special treatment. Risk factors for Seborrheic keratosis include genetics, eczema, skin irritation, etc. They appear on the back, face, chest, and shoulders.

Melanoma is a type of deadly, dangerous skin cancer that is very least diagonalizable. Often begins with the tanning beds and sun exposure.

They grow at a fast rate. Causing marks and blemishes on the skin, Melanoma is not easily recognizable from that of Seborrheic keratosis. They itch, burn and bleed, making it necessary to treat them in their early stages only.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSeborrheic KeratosisMelanoma
DefinitionA very common skin condition that is not cancerous and causes growth as you age.A deadly type of Cancerous skin condition whose shape and colour are the same as seborrheic keratosis.
Risk factorsIt can be itchy, and the risk factors are eczema, skin irritation, friction, etc.It can be itchy, swollen, bleed and burn also. The risk factors are having unusual moles, a weak immune system, etc.
CausesThere is no exact cause, but genetics can be one of the causes.It can be caused by UV light, i.e., sun exposure, and can also be heredity. 
AppearanceThey have a scaly and waxy surface whose size varies from small to 1 inch, are round and oval-shaped, and appear slightly raised from the skin in brown, black, or tan colour.It varies in size over time, has fuzzy and blurred edges, has a variety of colours, and doesn’t have a definite shape and size.
TreatmentThis is a common skin condition and not deadly. Thus it doesn’t need any special treatment until it grows so much that it sometimes indicates tumours.Since they are cancerous, they need special surgical removal so as not to hurt and cause death to anybody.

What is Seborrheic Keratosis? 

Seborrheic keratosis is a skin condition with the same symptoms as melanoma, but they are not deadly and don’t cause cancer.

They don’t need any special doctor’s treatment, but if they grow rapidly and in large amounts, they can be a sign of a tumour. The exact causes have not yet been discovered, but they can happen due to heredity also.

They are oval-shaped, waxy, shiny, and of brown and tan colour, whose size varies from small to 1 inch. They appear on the face, back, chest and shoulder.

They grow in old ages and don’t cause much harm to the boys but might look bothersome because of their appearance, which is different from the skin.

seborrheic keratosis scaled

What is Melanoma?

More common for older people, Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be very dangerous and needs surgeries to treat.

They appear like moles with no definite shape and size or even indefinite colours. They have blurred edges and fuzzy borders. Eventually, they change their shape, colour, and size.

The primary cause of Melanoma is Ultra violet rays of the sun, which can be very harmful to the skin. They itch, burn, bleed, and get inflated and swollen also.

They are of three subcategories: Acral Lentiginous, Juvenile Melanoma, and Malignant lentigo. They need a doctor’s attention when they escalate.

They appear on the back, head, and neck in men, whereas In women, they appear on the arms or legs.

Main Differences Between Seborrheic Keratosis and Melanoma

  1. Seborrheic keratosis is a type of skin condition which is not cancerous, whereas Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be cancerous and deadly.
  2. Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin condition that doesn’t need special treatment as it doesn’t cause such harm. In contrast, Melanoma is a type of cancer, so they need special surgeries and treatment as they can be deadly.
  3. Seborrheic keratosis appears like a mole of brown, black, or tan colour, and size varies up to 1 inch, whereas Melanoma differs in size and colour and has no definite shape.
  4. Seborrheic keratosis is caused due to genetics but not by any sun exposure, whereas Melanoma can be caused due to taming beds and sun exposure.
  5. Seborrheic keratosis can be itchy, but they hardly bleed or cause such irritation, whereas Melanoma can itch, burn, swell, and bleed and can be very irritating.
Difference Between Seborrheic Keratosis and Melanoma
References
  1. https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.03108
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2612723

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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