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Melanoma

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It forms in cells called melanin that make skin color. Melanoma may appear as a new mole, or in moles you already have.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.

Tests:

  • A skin biopsy is done to remove part or all of the mole, sore, or lump. The sample is then sent to a lab to be tested for cancer.
  • X-ray or CT scan pictures may be used to see if the melanoma has spread. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • A sentinel node biopsy may be done to see if the melanoma has spread to lymph nodes close to the mole. This kind of biopsy is only done for melanomas that are a certain thickness.

Treatment:

  • Biological therapy is used to help your immune system fight the cancer.
  • Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays to kill cancer cells.
  • Skin grafting is done to remove a thin piece of healthy skin from one part of the body. The healthy piece of skin is then put onto the injured part of the body. When a large or deep tumor is removed from the skin, a large wound and scar may occur. A skin graft can help close the wound or decrease the amount of scarring.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove melanoma from a larger area of skin. Surgery may also be done if the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or other parts of your body.

RISKS:

Treatment may not be able to remove all the melanoma. Even with treatment, the melanoma may come back. If not treated, the melanoma will spread to other parts of your body. When cancer spreads, it is more difficult to treat, and may become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Melanoma (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

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