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Mucosal melanoma

We know that melanoma is often thought of as ‘skin cancer’ but it is also known that melanoma can and does occur in other areas of the body as well as the skin. It can also be found on the *mucosal surfaces of the body (*A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connective tissue). Known as ‘mucosal melanoma’ it can affect the nasal passages, sinuses, oral cavity, anus, vagina and other areas.

Initially, once a patient is diagnosed with mucosal melanoma (as with skin melanoma) surgical removal is likely to be the first step. As with many other diseases, early diagnosis is important but this can be complex in mucosal melanoma. Diagnosis can often be difficult because the tumours can have fairly general symptoms which can differ depending on where it has developed.

Some of the symptoms can include: bleeding, discomfort, rectal mass, vaginal bleeding and/or discharge, pigmented spots around the vagina or anus, recurring nose bleeds and discharge.

Despite significant advances in the treatment and understanding of mucosal melanoma, it still remains a very challenging disease. The new immunotherapy and targeted therapies are improving outcomes for patients with cutaneous (skin) melanoma, but they do not work as well in mucosal melanoma.

If you have been diagnosed with mucosal melanoma, we know your concerns will be serious. It is important that you are seen by an expert clinician. If you need any help or assistance, please do contact us.

 

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