FAQ - Melanoma
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How does the doctor do a biopsy if melanoma is on the head?

My dad has Melanoma on the head...how the hell does the doctor get a biopsy off of it on his head?

It will depend on where on the head the melanoma is located and the best way to approach the biopsy . . it may be that they will attempt am excisional biopsy. Am excisional biopsy involves the complete removal of the lesion with a clear margins . . . Once the lesion is removed the pathologist will examine the tumor under a microscope to determine if it is malignant, what grade it is, and see if any cancer cells are in the margins. Or the doctor may for whatever reason elect to do a needle aspiration biopsy and just remove a sample of the suspected cells . . of course there is risk of missing the cancer cells totally with this type of biopsy.  (+ info)

How likely is it for an 72 year old male survivor of melanoma skin cancer to die before age 80?

He first had a melanoma removed about 15 years ago. About 12 years ago doctors removed some lesions but said they were not melanoma. Then about 8 years ago two more melanoma were detected and removed. The biopsy on one of these said it was 2 cm wide, Stage IIA. 6 years ago (2002) a 4th melanoma was detected and removed.

From the information you gave there is no reason to believe he would die before 80, not from melanoma anyway. You should also know with melanoma the depth of invasion is more telling than the size.  (+ info)

Is it significant that more than one mole shows signs of melanoma?

That is to say melanoma is recurring for the first time, but on more than one mole at the same time, away from the original sight. Is that significant? Is it normal to appear on more than one mole at the same time?

When melanoma spreads (recurs), it can appear in several places at once. This is fairly typical.  (+ info)

What are your chances of living with no treatment on Stage4 Melanoma?

My uncle is coming today to live with us. Last week was told he has melanoma in lungs, bones, and tons in his brain. they say he has it in 80% of his body. They give him 6months to live. First off, is that with treatment and second what are his chances of living until Thanksgiving at the least with no treatment? He is refusing any doctors, meds, or treatment. I would ask him these questions but he is not speaking about it.

Stage 4 melanoma has a median survival of 6-7 months with or without treatment. It is a very unpredictable disease and there is no way of knowing if he will be here at Thanksgiving. I don’t mean to be harsh, but he needs to talk to you about this or you are going to have a world of stress. If he does not have an advanced directive or given a medical power of attorney to someone the hospital will have to do everything possible to keep him alive and this can often be harder on the patient and the family. When he gets bad he will not likely recover enough to make his wishes known and this can happen rather quickly. You may also want to look into hospice. They are wonderful at helping both the patient and the family. Best wishes.  (+ info)

What is the difference between a toe Hematoma and a toe Melanoma?

I have a black spot on my left toe, inside, and outside the nail itself. I think it's from putting on shoes that are too tight,but I don't know if it's a hematoma or a melanoma (or if it's something else.) Thanks in advance.

Hematoma is a contained collection of blood commonly caused by some trauma. If you have it beneath your toenail, you would likely remember then injury that caused it. They usually get absorbed and disappear in a couple of weeks. A melanoma is a form of skin cancer. On the foot, when it occurs, it can and is often found beneath the toe nail. They continue to grow and can eventually spread if not surgically completely removed. A third possibility, more likely if your over 50 years old, is that it's not blood but rather a fungus under the nail - very common in later years, and it can be treated. If you're below 30, it's likely;y not a melanoma and you could wait a month. If your worries grow, then see a dermatologist (skin physician specialist.)  (+ info)

What happen after one had a minor surgery to cut MELANOMA out?

My mum had what she thought was a big mole bleading. when it was cut out it turned out to be a tumor - doctor did a good job cutting so everything around and underneath it was tumorfree. It was then tested in a lab and turned out to be a malignant melanoma.

I wonder what needs to happen next - what are the prosedings??
the doctors in Ukraine say there is nothing else to be done and my mum can go on with her life.

You are not giving enough information to know. What kind of melanoma was it? How big was it? How far did it invade? How thick was it? Was it ulcerated? The answers to these questions are what determine treatment and prognosis. Typically the initial biopsy is done with close margins of just a few millimeters. This is to prevent problems with sentinel lymph node mapping. Later a second biopsy is done to be sure the margins are clear.  (+ info)

How long can someone live with Melanoma?

My 90 year old grand-mother has just been diagnosed with melanoma, I'm nowhere close to her doctor and no one has told me how long she has.
This is Melanoma of the Blood, not just the skin.

What stage is the disease? Cancer isn't a death sentence. Much depends on the patients overall health and the stage of the disease. If this is early stage than the melanoma may be treatable. It's possible that your grandmother may just live with the cancer for years and pass away for different reasons.

Information for you about the disease:

NCI: Melanoma

NCCN: Melanoma Treatment Guidelines
http://www.nccn.org/patients/patient_gls/_english/_melanoma/contents.asp  (+ info)

what kind of tests are done to follow up for melanoma skin cancer?

i had melanoma on my lower leg and had a widening done. they said the melanoma had not spread. should'nt i be having follow up tests or something? this was 2000. none of my doctors seem concerned.

Clearly you must have had Melanoma in situ, or stage 0 melanoma. The cure for that is total excision of the tumor, making sure all margins are clear. That is the only treatment needed for melanoma in that stage. Your only issue now is to make sure it doesn't show up anywhere else. See a dermatologist twice a year. Have your spouse or close friend check you all over for any suspicious moles on a regular basis. Wear sun screen every time you go outside. You should draw a picture of yourself and plot the moles on your body or better yet photograph them and compare annually. Be aware of any changes in a mole. Since you had it once, you are more prone to a recurrence than most people. Be vigilant and good luck.  (+ info)

What is the next step after you get a biopsy on a mole and it comes back as melanoma?

My derm. says I have melanoma cells? He said I need to come back in for more testing and possible treatment including surgery and freezing the cells. What all testing and treamtents will they do next and in what order? It is on my lower back on the left said? What would they remove? What can i expect?

The problem with melanoma is that it travels in sort of long strings from the original spot. So they need to start a surgery proceedure where they cut out the malignant mole and then while the wound is open follow the cells that are looking bad and if if they are cancerous remove them also.Often they have to remove some minor glands as well to prevent the cells being distributed in the body.
The end of the matter is either radiation treatment or chemotherapy to destroy any cells that have travelled in the blood stream to other locations in the body.
All the best with the treatment.  (+ info)

Going for skin scanning tomorrow to make sure melanoma is not in other areas. What should I expect?

What does the doctor due during the full body scan? Does he remove any more moles that look like they can be melanoma? I just had surgery done two weeks ago on my arm to remove the melanoma and upon removing the stiches the doctor will due the scan. I am just worried that there will be more affected areas. I had a mole removed last year and it came back recently. Can that be another spot of melanoma?

they will examine the whole body skin all over again and yes if something looks suspiscious, it has to be removed, good luck  (+ info)

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