The fact that tissue may undergo certain changes prior to the development of a malignant growth is well known. A precancerous stage of varying duration has been observed in the experimental production of epithelioma in animals. In human beings such instances are afforded by the senile dystrophy of the skin which manifests itself by atrophy, degeneration of elastic tissue, flecks of pigment, telangiectasis and circumscribed keratosis. The same changes are seen in xeroderma pigmentosum. Other conditions in which such changes occur are leukoplakia, extramammary Paget's disease and Bowen's disease. Among these rarer manifestations can be mentioned also melanosis of the skin and of the conjunctiva.
In dermatology this is recognized as a precancerous change, and considerable is known about its clinical and histologic characteristics. It may appear in the skin anywhere over the body but has a predilection for the face. It is a rather diffuse nonelevated pigmentation
REESE AB. PRECANCEROUS MELANOSIS AND DIFFUSE MALIGNANT MELANOMA OF THE CONJUNCTIVA. Arch Ophthalmol. 1938;19(3):354–365. doi:10.1001/archopht.1938.00850150036003
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