PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What does your doctor check for to diagnose metastatic melanoma?

ANSWER

The doctor will check to see if your lymph nodes are enlarged. Lymph nodes are bean-sized glands under the skin in your neck, underarms, and groin. The doctor uses a thin needle to remove a sample of cells. This is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.

The doctor may also do a sentinel node biopsy, whch removes the lymph nodes most likely to have cancer cells. During this test, the doctor injects a dye into the area where the potential cancer was. It spreads to the nearest lymph nodes, which are removed and tested. If these lymph nodes, called sentinel nodes, don't have cancer, then it's likely the cancer hasn't spread.

The results of these tests help the doctor determine the stage of your cancer and how widespread it is.

You and he will decide on the best treatment plan once you know that information.

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

NEXT QUESTION:

What questions should you ask your doctor about metastatic melanoma?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: