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How does melanoma spread?

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Melanoma spreads when the tumor's cells travel through your body's tissues, blood, or lymph nodes. They can settle in your organs and keep growing there. They can do this because they're sneaky. Every day, your body makes cancerous cells. Normally they don't make it past certain "checkpoints" in your immune system, which destroys them. But melanoma cells can use these checkpoints to avoid attack.

SOURCES:

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Guide to Staging—Melanoma.”

National Cancer Institute: “Skin Cancer Treatment (PDQ).”

American Cancer Institute: “Immunotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Treatment of Melanoma Skin Cancer, by Stage,” “Surgery for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Radiation Therapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Immunotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Targeted Therapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Chemotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Treatment for Advanced Melanoma Continues to Improve.”

Macmillan Cancer Support: “Understanding Advanced Melanoma.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 01, 2018

SOURCES:

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Guide to Staging—Melanoma.”

National Cancer Institute: “Skin Cancer Treatment (PDQ).”

American Cancer Institute: “Immunotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Treatment of Melanoma Skin Cancer, by Stage,” “Surgery for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Radiation Therapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Immunotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Targeted Therapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer,” “Chemotherapy for Melanoma Skin Cancer.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Treatment for Advanced Melanoma Continues to Improve.”

Macmillan Cancer Support: “Understanding Advanced Melanoma.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 01, 2018

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How will I feel if melanoma is spreading?

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