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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

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Metastatic Melanoma - Topic Overview

When melanoma spreads (metastasizes), it usually spreads first into nearby lymph nodes. It can also spread through the bloodstream. Distant metastases of melanoma typically are found in the skin, liver, lungs, bone, and brain.

If the melanoma is on a leg or arm, metastases usually are first found higher up on that leg or arm. Unusual sites for metastases include the eye.

Recommended Related to Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Stay Safe in the Sun After Skin Cancer

If you've had skin cancer, you don't need to stay indoors and read a book while everyone else is out riding a bike or at a ball game. You do need to be extra careful in the sun, though. "We want to encourage a healthy lifestyle," says Lisa Chipps, MD, director of dermatologic surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. But once you've had a skin cancer, she says, you're more likely to have another. If you've had a melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, you're nine times more likely to have a new one...

Read the Stay Safe in the Sun After Skin Cancer article > >

You may notice changes in a new or existing mole, such as:

  • An open sore (ulceration) or infection.
  • Bleeding for no reason.
  • Itching, tenderness, or pain.
  • A change in color.
  • A change in the thickness, such as going from flat to raised or raised to flat.

But symptoms may be vague and include:

When melanoma has spread only to nearby tissues or lymph nodes, treatments such as immunotherapy can sometimes work. But after melanoma has spread to other places in the body, cure is very rare. In these cases, treatment to manage symptoms may help a person live longer.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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