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How is metastatic melanoma diagnosed?

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If you haven’t already been diagnosed with melanoma, your doctor will do a skin exam. If he thinks you may have skin cancer, you'll need a biopsy to find out. You usually get one of three types:

  • A punch biopsy, which removes a round piece of skin for testing.
  • An excisional biopsy, during which your doctor removes the entire growth. A doctor will look at the growth under a microscope to assess its thickness. Usually, a thicker tumor means the cancer is more serious.
  • Shave biopsy.  Your doctor tries to shave off the entire growth.

From: Metastatic Melanoma WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer Overview," "Treatment of melanoma sin cancer by stage,” "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Cancer Research UK: "Living with Advanced Melanoma."

FDA: "FDA approves Yervoy to reduce the risk of melanoma returning after surgery," "FDA approves Cotellic as part of combination treatment for advanced melanoma."

Macmillan Cancer Support: "Symptoms of advanced melanoma."

National Cancer Institute: "What You Need to Know About Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers."

Skin Cancer Foundation: "Melanoma."

UCSF Medical Center: "Melanoma."

Medscape: “Some Melanoma Patients Living for up to 10 Years After Ipilimumab.”

UpToDate: "Melanoma treatment; advanced or metastatic melanoma (Beyond the Basics)."

American Cancer Society. 

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on August 19, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer Overview," "Treatment of melanoma sin cancer by stage,” "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Cancer Research UK: "Living with Advanced Melanoma."

FDA: "FDA approves Yervoy to reduce the risk of melanoma returning after surgery," "FDA approves Cotellic as part of combination treatment for advanced melanoma."

Macmillan Cancer Support: "Symptoms of advanced melanoma."

National Cancer Institute: "What You Need to Know About Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers."

Skin Cancer Foundation: "Melanoma."

UCSF Medical Center: "Melanoma."

Medscape: “Some Melanoma Patients Living for up to 10 Years After Ipilimumab.”

UpToDate: "Melanoma treatment; advanced or metastatic melanoma (Beyond the Basics)."

American Cancer Society. 

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on August 19, 2018

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What tests are used to diagnose metastatic melanoma?

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