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Metastatic Melanoma

Overview

When melanoma spreads (metastasizes), it usually spreads first into nearby lymph nodes. It can also spread through the bloodstream. Distant metastases of melanoma typically are found in the skin, liver, lungs, bone, and brain.

If the melanoma is on a leg or arm, metastases usually are first found higher up on that leg or arm. Unusual sites for metastases include the eye.

When melanoma spreads (metastasizes), it may cause changes in a new or existing mole, such as:

  • An open sore (ulceration) or infection.
  • Bleeding for no reason.
  • Itching, tenderness, or pain.
  • A change in color.
  • A change in the thickness, such as going from flat to raised or raised to flat.

But symptoms of metastatic melanoma may be vague and include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the armpit or groin.
  • A colorless lump or thickening under the skin.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Gray skin.
  • Ongoing (chronic) cough.
  • Headaches.
  • Seizures.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology