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How Do You Feel With Melanoma

Red Flag #: Chest Pain And Trouble Breathing

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Melanoma is also known to spread to the lungs, though Dr. Zaba notes that most people dont experience noticeable symptoms in the lungs until a tumor has gotten pretty large. A cough that just wont quit or recurring chest infections can signal that the cancer has traveled to the lungs, Dr. Polsky says. Shortness of breath or trouble breathing can also be a red flag.

Signs Melanoma Has Spread

    Melanoma is the most dangerous type of because it spreads so quickly and so easily. That’s why it’s important to catch melanoma early. After it starts to spread, melanoma is harder to treat.

    Melanoma can spread in three ways: directly through your skin, by getting into your bloodstream, and by getting into your lymphatic systempart of your immune system.

    Melanoma can spread to almost any part of the body. It usually spreads on your skin, under your skin, or into your lymph nodes. If melanoma gets into your lymphatic system or your bloodstream, it can also spread to distant parts of your body. This is metastatic melanoma . Metastatic melanoma spreads most often to the lungs, brain, liver and bones.

    If melanoma spreads, it usually happens within two years of getting a diagnosis. The chance that it will spread is higher if your melanoma was thick or ulcerated , if it was already in your lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis, or if you are older than 50.

    Becoming Partners With A Cancer Woman

    You will feel invigorated by the relationship that you maintain with a Cancer woman, and this could impel you to attempt to progress your relationship into something more. By sharing your feelings with her, you may find that that will make the decision to share herself with you as well. Show her that you are passionate and excited about your future together. Invite her somewhere that fills her with wonder, as this will make her connection her feelings of love and awe with your partnership.

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    Complementary And Alternative Treatments

    It’s common for people with cancer to seek out complementary or alternative treatments. When used alongside your conventional cancer treatment, some of these therapies can make you feel better and improve your quality of life. Others may not be so helpful and in some cases may be harmful. It is important to tell all your healthcare professionals about any complementary medicines you are taking. Never stop taking your conventional treatment without consulting your doctor first.All treatments can have side effects. These days, new treatments are available that can help to make many side effects much less severe than they were in the past.

    Types Of Skin Malignancies:

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    • Melanoma the least common form of skin cancer, but responsible for more deaths per year than squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers combined. Melanoma is also more likely to spread and may be harder to control.
    • Nonmelanoma malignancies:
      • Squamous cell cancer the second-most common skin cancer. It’s more aggressive and may require extensive surgery, depending on location and nerve involvement.
      • Basal cell cancer the most common form of skin cancer. It is rarely fatal but can be locally aggressive.

    These skin malignancies are typically caused by ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun and tanning beds.

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    When To See A Healthcare Provider

    If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of skin cancer mentioned above, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. A dermatologist can examine your skin and determine if a biopsy is needed. This is true no matter your skin color.

    Skin cancer can more difficult to see or may look different on darker skin, and even healthcare providers can overlook melanomas in people of color. If you are concerned, but do not feel that your concern is being addressed, be your own advocate and continue to ask questions or get a second opinion.

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    Risk Of Further Melanomas

    Most people treated for early melanoma do not have further trouble with the disease. However, when there is a chance that the melanoma may have spread to other parts of your body, you will need regular check-ups. Your doctor will decide how often you will need check-ups everyone is different. They will become less frequent if you have no further problems. After treatment for melanoma it is important to limit exposure to the sun’s UV radiation. As biological family members usually share similar traits, your family members may also have an increased risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. They can reduce their risk by spending less time in the sun and using a combination of sun protection measures during sun protection times. It is important to monitor your skin regularly and if you notice any changes in your skin, or enlarged lymph glands near to where you had the cancer, see your specialist as soon as possible.

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    What Are Some General Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer

    Most signs and symptoms are not caused by cancer but can be caused by other things. If you have any signs and symptoms that don’t go away or get worse, you should see a doctor to find out whats causing them. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.

    For instance, lymph nodes are part of the bodys immune system and help capture harmful substances in the body. Normal lymph nodes are tiny and can be hard to find. But when theres infection, inflammation, or cancer, the nodes can get larger. Those near the bodys surface can get big enough to feel with your fingers, and some can even be seen as swelling or a lump under the skin. One reason lymph nodes may swell is if cancer gets trapped there. So, if you have unusual swelling or a lump, you should see your doctor to figure out whats going on.

    Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms that may be caused by cancer. However, any of these can be caused by other problems as well.

    Sometimes, its possible to find cancer before you have symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early. You can find more information on early detection at the American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.

    Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Treatment

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    Many early-stage small basal cell cancers or squamous cell cancers can be removed by Mohs surgery, a technique that spares normal tissue through repeated intraoperative margin testing, removing only the cancer and leaving adjacent normal tissue. Tumors with nerve involvement, lymph node involvement or of a large size are not suitable for Mohs surgery. They require a multimodality approach to treatment, with formal surgical resection and adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy.

    Melanoma is more likely to spread, and aggressive surgical resection with wide margins is required, in addition to radiation and/or chemotherapy.

    Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

    Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery provides comprehensive surgical care and treatment for head and neck cancers. Our surgeons are at the leading edge of head and neck cancer treatment. You will benefit from the skilled care of head and neck surgeons, guiding clinical advancements in the field of head and neck cancer care.

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    A Sore That Doesn’t Heal

    Many skin cancers are first dismissed as being due to a bug bite, minor injury, or irritation, but become more obvious when they don’t go away over time. If you notice a sore on your skin that refuses to heal, even if it seems to be healing but then reappears, talk to your healthcare provider. In general, any skin change that hasn’t resolved on its own over a period of two weeks should be evaluated.

    What Do Stage 4 Tumors Look Like

    A change to an existing mole or normal skin can be the first sign that the cancer has spread. But the physical symptoms of stage 4 melanoma arent the same for everyone. A doctor will diagnose stage 4 melanoma by looking at the primary tumor, the spread to nearby lymph nodes, and whether the tumor has spread to different organs. While your doctor wont base their diagnosis only on what your tumor looks like, part of their diagnosis involves looking at the primary tumor.

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    Where To Find Support For Partners

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    • The Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20The Cancer Council Helpline is a free, confidential telephone information and support service run by Cancer Councils in each state and territory. Specially trained staff can answer questions about all aspects of cancer, including prevention, early detection, and treatment. They can also assist with practical and emotional support and advise callers about specific services appropriate to their needs and location.Call The Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Some states have extended hours, some have health professionals on staff, and some have multilingual services.
    • Provides telephone counselling, information and referral for men to help manage the challenges encountered when they face disruptions to their family life or primary relationships. Helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • 24-hour telephone helpline staffed by trained volunteer telephone counsellors
    • Community awareness campaign designed to reduce the stigma associated with depression and to promote help-seeking behaviour.

    How Is Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Diagnosed

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    Diagnosis is made by clinical exam and a biopsy. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are staged by size and extent of growth. Basal cell cancers rarely metastasize to lymph nodes, but they can grow quite large and invade local structures. Squamous cell cancers have a much higher incidence of lymph node involvement in the neck and parotid gland and can spread along nerves.

    Melanoma is staged, based not on size but on how deeply it invades the skin layers. Therefore, a superficial or shave biopsy will not provide accurate staging information used to guide treatment. Melanomas can have a very unpredictable course and may spread to distant organs. Melanomas with intermediate thickness often require sentinel node biopsy, a surgical procedure performed by a head and neck surgeon, to determine if microscopic spreading to lymph nodes has occurred.

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    Red Flag #: Abdominal Pain And Tenderness

    Early on, there may be no noticeable symptoms that melanoma has spread to the liver. When symptoms do show up, they commonly include an enlarged, hard, or tender liver and pain in the upper right area of your abdomen, just below your ribs. Other signs cancer has spread to the liver are similar to symptoms of liver disease: fluid buildup in the belly and yellowing of the skin and eyes .

    Treatments For Advanced Melanoma

    In most cases, treatment can’t cure advanced melanoma. But some can help you live longer and feel better. The goal of any therapy you get will be to shrink or remove your tumor, keep the cancer from spreading further, and ease your symptoms.

    Surgery. This is the main way to remove melanoma from the skin and lymph nodes. You might also have an operation on organs where the cancer has spread. Thereâs no guarantee your surgeon will get all of it. Some melanoma is too small to see, even with high-tech scans.

    Radiation. Your doctor might recommend radiation to kill any cancer cells that have been left behind after surgery or if melanoma spreads to your brain or bones. It can also relieve pain from the disease or treat melanoma that comes back over and over.

    Immunotherapy or biologic therapy. These drugs help your immune system find and attack cancer cells. Depending on the ones you take, you might have to go in for treatment every 2, 3, or 4 weeks.

    Your doctor might want you to take more than one drug. Some studies show that people who do have fewer side effects.

    The flip side of immunotherapy is that sometimes these drugs cause your immune system to attack healthy organs. Then youâd need to stop melanoma treatment and take drugs to stop the attack.

    Chemo can shrink the cancer, but chances are it will start growing again after a few months and youâll need more treatment. Immunotherapy and targeted therapy usually work better.

    Other side effects include:

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer

    Signs and symptoms are ways the body lets you know that you have an injury, illness, or disease.

    • A sign, such as fever or bleeding, can be seen or measured by someone else.
    • A symptom, such as pain or fatigue, is felt or noticed by the person who has it.

    Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread , signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.

    Normal Mole: Smooth Border

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    More examples of ordinary moles: a uniformly tan or brown skin discoloration, 1 to 2 mm in diameter, a larger skin discoloration, a mole that is slightly raised above the surface of the skin, a mole that is more clearly raised above the skin, and a pink or flesh-colored mole.

    All of these are normal, and even a single mole may go through these stages over time. However, all of them have a smooth border and are clearly separated from the surrounding skin, in contrast to a melanoma tumor.

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    Melanomas That Could Be Mistaken For A Common Skin Problem

    Melanoma that looks like a bruise

    Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, including the bottom of the foot, where it can look like a bruise as shown here.

    Melanoma that looks like a cyst

    This reddish nodule looks a lot like a cyst, but testing proved that it was a melanoma.

    Dark spot

    In people of African descent, melanoma tends to develop on the palm, bottom of the foot, or under or around a nail.

    Did you spot the asymmetry, uneven border, varied color, and diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser?

    Dark line beneath a nail

    Melanoma can develop under a fingernail or toenail, looking like a brown line as shown here.

    While this line is thin, some are much thicker. The lines can also be much darker.

    It May Not Be A Mole At All

    Melanomas can also look like a bruise that doesn’t heal or a dark streak under a fingernail or toenail, she says. Bob Marley was diagnosed with melanoma under one of his toenails in July 1977. He reportedly ignored advice to amputate the toe and the cancer spread to his lungs and brain, and he died in May 1981 at age 36.

    Melanoma can also appear in your eyes, but its exceptionally rare. If people are having blurry vision in one eye or pressure behind one eye, they should probably get screened for ocular melanoma, Dr. Lamb says. The symptoms usually arent in both eyes, and regular screenings arent necessary because it is so rare.

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    Red Flag #: Swollen Lymph Nodes

    If melanoma spreads, it often goes to the lymph nodes first, says Melinda L. Yushak, M.D., assistant professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. The cancer cells will first travel to the nodes closest to the original tumor, she says. Lymph nodes are located throughout your entire body, but large clusters are found in the neck, underarms, chest, abdomen, and groin. If the cancer has made its way to the lymph nodes, it usually wont be painful, but theyll feel swollen or even hard to the touch, Dr. Zaba says.

    What Are The Side Effects Of Treatment For Melanoma

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    Because treatment may damage healthy cells and tissues, unwanted side effects sometimes occur. These side effects depend on many factors, including the location of the tumor and the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, the health care team will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to help the patient manage them.

    Surgery

    The side effects of surgery depend mainly on the size and location of the tumor and the extent of the operation. Although patients may have some pain during the first few days after surgery, this pain can be controlled with medicine. People should feel free to discuss pain relief with the doctor or nurse. It is also common for patients to feel tired or weak for a while. The length of time it takes to recover from an operation varies for each patient.

    Chemotherapy

    The side effects of chemotherapy depend mainly on the specific drugs and the dose. In general, anticancer drugs affect cells that divide rapidly, especially:

    Biological therapy

    The side effects of biological therapy vary with the type of treatment. These treatments may cause flu-like symptoms, such as chills, fever, muscle aches, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Patients may also get a skin rash. These problems can be severe, but they go away after treatment stops.

    Radiation therapy

    Nutrition

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