5 signs that your melanoma has spread : health
signs that your melanoma has spread :health
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and stage 4 melanoma, also called advanced or metastatic melanoma, is its most advanced stage.
At this point, the melanoma has spread to different parts of the body. Knowing the symptoms of stage 4 melanoma can help you recognize any alarming changes in your condition.
The size of the stage 4 melanoma tumor varies from person to person, but at this stage tumors are usually more than four millimeters deep, according to the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC).
The size of the tumor is not always the best indicator of the stage of skin cancer, however, although treatments may shrink the tumor, the cancer can still metastasize or spread.
Swollen lymph nodes
The lymph nodes can be hard and swollen if the cancer has spread to them from where it started.
Affected lymph nodes may also become entangled or connected, in which case they will look lumpy and hard.
Although melanoma can spread to various parts of the body, it most often travels to the lungs.
If this happens, the patient may have difficulty breathing or cough persistently.
Other symptoms can include chest discomfort or what is called pleural effusion, when fluid collects around the lungs.
If you feel pain in the right side of your stomach, under your ribs, it may be a sign that the cancer cells have spread to the liver.
The spread of melanoma to the liver can also cause loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, and fluid buildup in the abdomen.
Melanoma sometimes spreads to the bones, which can weaken them. The most common symptoms are pain or discomfort in the bones. A rarer symptom is a fracture after a minor injury.
Advanced melanoma can have more general symptoms that don’t necessarily tell you where the cancer has spread.
Symptoms can include weight loss, fatigue, bowel problems, and feeling sick. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor.