Metastatic Melanoma – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Furthermore, Metastatic Melanoma is the rarest and most dangerous type of skin cancer . It starts in melanocytes, which are the cells in your skin that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin color .
Metastatic melanoma develops growths on your skin , which often resemble moles. These growths or tumors can also come from existing moles. Melanomas can form on the skin anywhere on your body, including within the month or vagina.
Metastatic melanoma occurs when cancer spreads from the tumor to other parts of your body. This is also known as stage 4 melanoma . Melanoma is the most likely all skin cancers to become metastatic if not caught early.
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Melanoma rates have increased over the past 30 years. An estimated 10,130 people died from Metastatic Melanoma in 2016.
Metastatic melanoma occurs when melanoma is not detected and treated early.
Symptoms of Metastatic Melanoma: Some unusual symptoms may be the only indication of Metastatic Melanoma that has not yet metastasized. Moles caused by melanoma may have the following characteristics:
Asymmetry: Both sides of a healthy mole are very similar if you draw a line through it. Two halves of a mole or growth caused by melanoma look very different from each other.
Border: A healthy mole has smooth, even borders. Melanomas have jagged or jagged borders.
Color: A cancerous mole will have more than one color, including:
Size: Metastatic Melanomas are more likely to be larger in diameter than benign moles. They often grow to be larger than the eraser on a pencil. The symptoms of Metastatic Melanoma depend on where the cancer has spread. These symptoms usually only appear once the cancer is already advanced.
- If you have Metastatic Melanoma , you may experience symptoms like:
- Strawberries hardened under your skin
- Swollen or painful lymph nodes
- Difficulty breathing or a cough that doesn’t go away if the cancer has spread to the lungs
- Enlarged liver or loss of appetite, if the cancer has spread to the liver or stomach
- Bone pain or broken bones, if the cancer has spread to the bone
- Weight loss
- Seizures, if the cancer has spread to your brain
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
Metastatic Melanoma Risk Factors: Several risk factors can contribute to developing Metastatic Melanoma . Those with a family history of Metastatic Melanoma are at greater risk than those who do not. Approximately 10 percent of people who develop metastatic melanoma have a family history of the condition. Other risk factors include:
- A large number of moles, especially irregular moles
- Frequent exposure to ultraviolet light
- Those who are older are more likely to develop melanoma than younger individuals. Despite this, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in people under 30, especially young women. After the age of 50, men have a higher risk of developing melanoma .
The risk of metastatic melanoma becoming metastatic is higher in those who have:
- Primary melanomas, which are visible growths on the skin
- Melanomas that are not removed
- A suppressed immune system
Diagnoses of Metastatic Melanoma: If you notice a mole or unusual growth, make an appointment to have it checked by a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin conditions .
Diagnosing Melanoma: If your mole looks suspicious, your dermatologist will remove a small sample to check for skin cancer . If it comes back positive, they will likely remove the mole completely. This is called an exceptional biopsy. They will also assess the tumor based on its thickness. Generally, the larger the tumor, the more serious the melanoma . This will affect your treatment plan.
One of the first tests they may order is a sentinel node biopsy. This involves injecting dye into the area where the melanoma was removed. The dye moves to nearby lymph nodes. These lymph nodes are then removed and tested for cancer cells. If they are cancer -free , it usually means the cancer has not spread.
- X ray
- Computed tomography
- MRI scans
- PET extraction
Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma: Treatment for a metastatic melanoma growth will begin with excision surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding cancer cells. Surgery alone can treat metastatic melanoma that has not yet spread.
Once the cancer has metastasized and spread, other treatments are needed. If the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, the affected areas can be removed by dissecting the lymph nodes. Doctors may also prescribe interferon after surgery to reduce the likelihood of the cancer spreading .
Your doctor may suggest radiation, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy to treat Metastatic Melanoma . Surgery can be used to remove cancer in other parts of your body. Metastatic Melanoma is often difficult to treat. However, many clinical trials are underway that are looking for new ways to treat the condition.
Complications of Metastatic Melanoma: Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma can cause nausea, pain, vomiting, and fatigue.
Removing your lymph nodes can disrupt your lymphatic system. This can lead to fluid accumulation and swelling in your limbs, called lymphedema.
Some people experience confusion or “mental fog” during chemotherapy treatment. This is temporary. Others may experience peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage from chemotherapy. This could be permanent.
Metastatic Melanoma Perspective: Melanoma iscurable if caught and treated early. Once melanoma has become metastatic, it is much more difficult to treat. The average five-year survival rate for Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma is around 15 to 20 percent.
If you’ve had metastatic melanoma or melanomas in the past, it’s important to continue to see your doctor regularly. Metastatic Melanoma can recur, and it can even come back in other parts of your body.
Early detection is essential for successfully treating melanoma before it becomes metastatic. Make an appointment with your dermatologist for annual skin cancer checks . You should also call them if you notice new or changing moles.