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Doctor insights on: Melanoma

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Dr. Travis Kidner
2,633 Doctors shared insights

Melanoma (Overview)

Cancer of the melanocyte cells. Melanocyte cells determine the color of your skin. Although these cells are primarily found in your skin, they can also be found in the bowel and in the eyes.


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Is a two colored mole pr definition melanoma?

Is a two colored mole pr definition melanoma?

It's complicated: Any suspicious mole should be checked by your doctor. Moles with multiple colors are surely more suspicious for melanoma, but not definitive. On the other hand, some melanomas have no pigmentation, making them much harder to diagnose. ...Read more

Dr. Travis Kidner
2,633 Doctors shared insights

Melanoma (Overview)

Cancer of the melanocyte cells. Melanocyte cells determine the color of your skin. Although these cells are primarily found in your skin, they can also be found in the bowel and in the eyes.


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How does melanoma spread throughout the body?

How does melanoma spread throughout the body?

Via blood and lymph: Like other cancers, melanomas spread (metastasize) via 2 pathways. First, via the lymph system, where the tumor gets caught in lymph nodes. Sentinel node biopsy is helpful to determine lymph node involvement. Next, it can spread via the blood. That's how melanoma can go from your skin anywhere to the brain, lung, liver, etc. It's propensity to do this makes melanoma so dangerous. ...Read more

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Melanoma (Tip)

Many non melanoma skin cancers can be treated very effectively by mohs surgery. See a dermatologist! ...See more

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Living with Skin Cancer (Checklist)

Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm
daily
Apply sunscreen
2x day
Wear a hat outdoors on sunny days
daily
See a dermatologist for checkups
2x year
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Which symptom did you have of melanoma?

Which symptom did you have of melanoma?

Use ABCDE RULE: It's best to see a dermatologist but a good rule of thumb is the abcd guidelines
a=asymmetry of lesion
b=border is irregular
c=colors are multiple and not consistent
d=diameter is greater than 6mm
e=evolution of lesion with changes and enlargement. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of melanoma if it has spread?

What are the symptoms of melanoma if it has spread?

Many disguises: I have seen melanoma spread nearly everywhere you can imagine, and the site of metastasis dictates the symptoms that may occur. Common sites include lymph nodes, lung, liver, bone, and small intestine. Lymph nodes: a lump in the underarm, neck, or groin. Lung: cough, shortness of breath or bloody sputum. Liver: jaundice or pain. Bone: pain or fracture. Small intestine: bloody bm, blockage. ...Read more

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Treating Dry Skin (Checklist)

Use moisturizers regularly
Once
Use mild soap when washing your skin
Once
Limit overexposure to detergents or soaps
Once
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The last couple of months I discovered a black spot on the roof of my mouth. I don't smoke, pretty healthy (low vit. D).Sign of cancer? Melanoma?

The last couple of months I discovered a black spot on the roof of my mouth. I don't smoke, pretty healthy (low vit. D).Sign of cancer? Melanoma?

Depends: All black spots are not cancers or melanoma, but it they change in shape, size or color, they need to be evaluated by a doctor. ...Read more

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How do you diagnose melanoma?

How do you diagnose melanoma?

Biopsy: Any suspicious looking skin lesion, esp if it grows fast or changes in color or starts bleeing, needs to be biopsied. It will reveal melanoma if present. ...Read more

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Treating Skin Allergies (Checklist)

Use hydrocortisone
2x day
Do not use diphenhydramine topical cream
once
Avoid the offending agent (s)
once
Find out if you are allergic to nickel, as nickel is often the cause of skin allergies
once
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How does the number of cases of melanoma compare in light skinned vs. Medium skinned vs. Dark skinned persons?

How does the number of cases of melanoma compare in light skinned vs. Medium skinned vs. Dark skinned persons?

Melanoma: The lighter the skin color the greater the risk. The greater the amount of sun exposure over time the greater the risk. If several family members have been affected, the greater the risk. ...Read more

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When they do a test for melanoma?

When they do a test for melanoma?

Unclear questions: We all need to watch for pigmented skin lesions. If there is a change in size, shape, nodule formation, bleeding, change in color, the lesion needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Diagnsis requires removal of the lesion and examination of the tissue by a pathologist. ...Read more

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Treating Skin Tags (Checklist)

Do not treat them yourself
Once
Avoid picking at them
Once
Have them removed by a doctor if needed
Once
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What are the tests for intraocular melanoma?

What are the tests for intraocular melanoma?

Eye exam: An eye examination by an ophthamologist is usually how the diagnosis is made. More detailed examination by a specialist in retinas or ocular oncology may follow. A biopsy can be done by the specialist. ...Read more

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How should you know if you have melanoma?

How should you know if you have melanoma?

Skin cancer: Most skin cancers are the result of excessive sun exposure/tanning. Genetics play a strong role too. Any skin lesion that is changing size, color, shape or an area that does not heal is suspicious for skin cancer and should be evaluated by a dermatologist. ...Read more

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Is tanning safe, or does it cause melanoma?

Not safe: Tanning is not safe and is not recommended for anyone. It increases the risk of skin cancer and accelerates facial and body aging. Sunscreen with titanium and zinc can help protect you from uva and uvb rays, but avoiding sun exposure is best. Spray tanning and tanning lotions are a reasonable alternative to achieve a bronzed look, but they may not be safe for pregnant/ lactating women. ...Read more

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Treating a Skin Abscess (Checklist)

Clean the abscess thoroughly
Once
If the abscess is draining on its own, cover it and regularly change the dressing
Once
See your doctor if the abscess is not draining or has redness around it
Once
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What is melanoma and is it treatable?

Malignant Melanoma: Is a skin cancer which can be aggressive. It is treatable but best outcome is with early diagnosis (low Clarke's level) and early treatment. ...Read more

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Can the laser be used to treat ocular melanoma?

Can the laser be used to treat ocular melanoma?

Laser melanoma: Ocular melanoma is not treated by destruction but by removal and the laser can be used as a cutting device. A retinal specialist would be the best to answer this in detail and they would need to know more details. ...Read more

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Managing Pain from Cancer (Checklist)

Ask an oncologist to refer you to a cancer pain specialist
Once
Ask a pain specialist about both interventional and medication options
Once
If you have pancreatic cancer, ask about a celiac plexus block
Once
If you have neuropathy, request a trial of ketamine-based topical creams
Once
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How much sun protection do I need after being treated for melanoma?

Sunscreen: You do not need to become a vampire, but you should try to prevent extended exposure to uv radiation. If you are going to outdoors wear sunscreen and try to cover up as much as possible with a hat and a shirt. ...Read more

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Is there a drug treatment for melanoma?

Is there a drug treatment for melanoma?

Yes: It has been an exciting year in melanoma. There were two new melanoma drugs approved last year and one of these agents was able to demonstrate a survival benefit, something which has not been demonstrated in over 20 years. ...Read more

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments for melanoma?

Several: Melanoma is almost always treated with surgery first; the amount of surgery depends on the clark level (how deep it is), which is measured in millimeter fractions. A sentinel lymph node (first lymph node to respond) is sometimes removed; chemotherapy and targeted molecular therapies are used in certain circumstances. ...Read more

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Hi, tell me a way to cure a malignant melanoma that has metastesised in two axillary lymph nodes? Chemo, radiation and surgery is not an option.

Hi, tell me a way to cure a malignant melanoma that has metastesised in two axillary lymph nodes? Chemo, radiation and surgery is not an option.

Limited options: Ask yourself why these are not options, and discuss with a surgical oncologist. Patients do very well after an axillary dissection and return to normal activities with the arm. You may be relying on incorrect information in making that decision. The most feared side effect, lymphedema, will likely occur anyway secondary to the cancer under the arm. Surgery alone may be curative. ...Read more

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What's the best treatment to get rid of melanoma?

Depend on stage: Surgery is the only curative therapy for early stage melanoma (the 5- and 10-year survivals are: 97% and 95% for stage ia, 92 and 86% for stage ib, 81 and 67% for stage iia, 70 and 57% for stage iib, 78% and 68% for stage iiia, 59 and 43% for stage iiib, 40 and 24% for stage iiic). For stage IV or metastatic disease, cure is rare, and is seen mainly with immunotherapy such as high dose il2 or ipi. ...Read more

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If a person who's high risk for melanoma gets skin checks every 3 months, would they always be able to catch a melanoma early?

Usually but...: There are no 100% guarantees, however the more vigilant you are the more likely it is that you will catch the problem earlier. Unfortunately sometimes melanoma can exist undetected until it has already advanced. ...Read more

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Is melanoma genetic?

Is melanoma genetic?

Sometimes: There are a portion of melanomas that have a genetic inheritance, e.G, the dysplastic nevus syndrome. We are not yet certain about exactly how the inheritance works for this. Other rare inherited conditions also increase the risk of melanoma and other cancers too. Finally, there are a large number of melanomas that have no inherited predispostion as well. ...Read more

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What increases my risk for melanoma of the skin?

Exposure to UV: Exposure to uv light, either from the sun or tanning beds is the leading preventable risk factor in melanoma. The uncountable risk factor is heredity. ...Read more

Dr. Mike Bowman
957 Doctors shared insights

Skin Cancer (Definition)

A condition in which some element of your skin--which is one of the most complex organs in the body--degenerates into cancer. The three most common types of skin cancer are: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma which occur in that order and degree of aggressiveness. Although heredity plays a major role, sun exposure and tobacco use and ...Read more


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