January is the traditional time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions…
In recognition of the month of May as National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Price Skincare Clinic is running a series of blog posts on Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer in the United States. In this article, we cover the warning signs of stage 4 melanoma.
As we saw in the last article, ‘Know Your Melanoma ABC’s’, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and stage 4 is its most advanced phase. Simply put, ‘stage 4’ means melanoma has spread to parts of the body beyond the original melanoma site.
If you suffer from melanoma it’s imperative that you see a doctor regularly. But if you detect any of these warning signs, call your doctor immediately.
Warning Sign #1: Enlarged Tumors
Although the size of tumors can vary from person to person in stage 4 melanoma, the typical tumor at this stage is thicker than four millimeters deep. However, tumor size isn’t necessarily the best indicator of skin cancer stage. Treatments may shrink the tumor but the cancer can still spread.
Warning Sign #2: Swollen Lymph Nodes
If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, they may feel hard and swollen. This is because the affected lymph nodes may become matter or joined together, causing them to feel lumpy and hard.
Warning Sign #3: Difficulty Breathing
Should melanoma spread, it most often spreads to the lungs, which may cause the patient to experience:
• Difficulty breathing
• Persistent coughing
• Chest discomfort caused by fluid collecting around the lungs.
Warning Sign #4: Stomach Aches
An ache in the right side of your stomach – just under your lower ribs – may signal that melanoma has spread to your liver. Symptoms to watch for include:
• Loss of appetite
• Yellowing of the skin and eyes
• A build-up of fluid in the abdomen.
Warning Sign #5: Broken Bones
Sometimes melanoma spreads to the bones, which may result in bone weakness.
This is detectable by pain or discomfort or even a broken bone after a minor injury.
Others Things To Watch For
Stage 4 melanoma may also cause symptoms that are general in nature and don’t indicate where the cancer may have spread.
• Weight loss
• Bowel problems
• Feeling sick
If you experience any of the warning signs or symptoms, consult your physician immediately.