• Does surface melanoma become quickly invasive or aggressive?

    Asked by Sunnysideup on Monday, March 18, 2013

    Does surface melanoma become quickly invasive or aggressive?

    The Doctor just vaguely says "it can get bad".

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Yes, it can. But everyone is different and every cancer is unique.

      I lost a dear friend of mine several years ago. She had a spot the size of a pencil eraser on her arm. Did surgery, chemo and in 1/1/2 years it took her life.She was 45.

      My father had Melanoma at 85. it was extensive. They did surgery only because of his age. His body fought it until he was 92.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Unfortunately, there is a lot of unknown with melanoma so his answer, while vague, is pretty accurate at the same time. You just have to stay on top of things, watch your skin closely and pay attention to any changes in your body.

      over 4 years ago
    • melanomamama's Avatar

      I think it depends on how advanced the melanoma was that was removed from the skin. I remember that they were looking to see whether mine had spread by checking the "margins" of skin around the mole (mine were "clean margins") and whether blood vessels were involved (my original pathology report said "some capillary involvement." It also described "an ominous looking tumor.") So my oncologist and I took the watch and wait approach after the mole was removed, but he died in a plane crash, and even with annual skin checks and physicals, my doctors and I lost vigilance over the years. My melanoma metastasis took 18 years to be diagnosed, so I take that to mean that my own immune system was keeping it at bay, but never totally defeating it during all those disease free years.
      Constance Emerson Crooker, the Melanoma Mama

      over 4 years ago
    • Becky@UMich's Avatar
      Becky@UMich RN, BS, OCN, Cancer AnswerLine Nurse

      Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and can spread to involve other body organs. That is likely what your doctor meant when he/she said “it can get bad”

      What’s good to know is that staging is a standard way to sum up how advanced the cancer is at the time of diagnosis. Staging for melanoma takes into account the melanoma thickness, and whether or not other organs are involved. Staging also helps the doctor determine what treatment is best, and can play a role in estimating/predicting whether or not the cancer will return or develop in another location.

      You mentioned the melanoma is ‘surface’ so it sounds like it was diagnosed at an early stage. It would be good to find out from the doctor though exactly what the stage is, and ask about your individual risk for recurrence.
      According to the American Cancer Society, several studies have shown that melanoma tends to be more serious if it occurs on a foot, palm, or nail bed. People with organ transplants or HIV infection and melanoma also are at greater risk of dying of their melanoma.

      The best thing you can do, besides seeking shade and using sunscreen, is to schedule and keep all follow up visits with the doctor.The visits should include a skin check, lymph node exam and a chance for you to ask questions about your melanoma. How often follow-up doctor visits occur depends on the stage of the melanoma. For melanomas thinner than 1 mm, typically a physical exam is done every 3 to 12 months for several years. If these exams are normal, then the visits are typically reduced to once a year.

      If you want to learn more, great information about melanoma can be found by visiting:
      American Academy of Dermatology:http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer
      Skin Cancer Foundation: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma
      American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/index

      Hope this information helps! Becky RN OCN

      over 4 years ago

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