Frequently Asked Questions

Expert answers to frequently asked questions about melanoma.
Family History of Melanoma
Question Does having a family history of melanoma increase my chances of getting it? Answer Christopher Miller, MD, Dermatologist & Moh's Surgeon at Penn Medicine responds: A family history of ..
Recurrent or metastatic melanoma treatment options
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I am a nurse taking care of an MS patient who has a recurrent melanoma on the side of her face. She was treated with ..
Use of GM-CSF for the treatment of malignant melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Do you have any current info on the use of GM-CSF for the treatment of malignant melanoma? I would appreciate any help in finding most ..
Melanoma Removal and Work-up
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I recently had a malignant melanoma removed. Is it important to do a wide excision and why? Do I need a sentinel node removal? Can ..
Ocular Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Can you please give me some information on melanoma of the eye?Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Certified ..
Radiation for Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Can a person with Xeroderma Pigmentosa (XP) use radiation therapy to treat melanoma?Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Medical Correspondent, responds:There are a few issues ..
Leptomeningeal Cancer from Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," What are the treatment options for someone diagnosed with leptomeningeal cancer from melanoma? Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and ..
Mucosal Melanoma and Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," My question is in regards to a periurethral melanoma. Do you know of any surgeries done for this problem using CyberKnife®?Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, ..
Interferon Treatment for Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I have had a block dissection of the lymph nodes, and the sentinel node was found to contain melanoma cells. I am shortly going on ..
Mucosal Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," My friend had a mole removed 2 years ago and was told it was one step away from melanoma. She had 4 surgeries until clear ..
Follow-Up Care for Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I am a 29-year-old female with melanoma, stage T2N0M0. I am getting every-3-month follow-up visits/exams with every-6-month chest x-rays & blood work. Is there any ..
Melanoma Biopsy Results and Sentinel Node Biopsy
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I recently went to my family practitioner about an odd-looking mole. He said he didn't think it was anything to be concerned about and shaved ..
Immune System after Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I recently had a superficial spreading melanoma removed that was quite small, approx half a millimeter in depth. (The procedure went well with) no problems ..
Types of Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Are there different types of melanoma? Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, responds:There ..
Leptomeningeal Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," What is leptomeningeal melanoma? What medication can help? Keith T. Flaherty, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology), responds:Leptomeningeal melanoma refers to the spread of melanoma ..
Link between Melanoma & Breast Cancer
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on my left wrist in June of 2005. Monday I had an OB-GYN appointment and a "lump" was found ..
Choosing Therapy after Surgical Removal of Melanoma (Adjuvant Therapy)
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I have been diagnosed with melanoma, stage IIIA. After a 4.5 mm lesion was removed, I had a sentinel node biopsy which came back "barely" ..
Lower Extremity Lymphedema & Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," What is the likelihood of developing lymphedema following a dissection of the external lymph nodes of the groin area for treatment of Stage III melanoma? ..
Biopsy for a Second Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," My husband had surgery for melanoma in October 2006 on his back. It was extensive surgery but no melanoma [was seen] in lymph nodes. He ..
Melanoma Biopsy Report
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I recently had a punch biopsy done on my left forearm. Could you please help me understand the pathology report? DIAGNOSIS: Atypical intraepidermal melanocytic proliferation, ..
GM-CSF for Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I was diagnosed with melanoma on my left foot, Stage Ib, in 2005. In 2009, I was found to have a recurrence in the left ..
Parrot with melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I am an avian practitioner in and am treating a 6 month old African Grey Parrot with a rapidly growing melanoma below the eye. Complete ..
Metastatic Melanoma in Dogs
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I have just learned that my 3-year-old chocolate lab has melanoma. I thought melanoma was skin cancer, however, hers is between her heart and her ..
PET for breast cancers and melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Can you explain why PET is used in breast cancer and melanoma?  Peeyush Bhargava MD, Chief Fellow in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the ..
The Role of PET in Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," My Aunt (age 58) just got diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma on the back of her shoulder. I think it is a good idea for her ..
Should people with melanoma stay out of the sun at all times?
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Should people with melanoma stay out of the sun at all times? Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Abramson Cancer Center of ..
Should people with melanoma stay out of the sun at all times?
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," Should people with melanoma stay out of the sun at all times?Christopher J. Miller, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Abramson Cancer Center of ..
Risk Factors for Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," What are the biggest risk factors for developing melanoma? Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor in Dermatology and Director of the Moh's Surgery Program at Penn ..
BRAF Gene in Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I've seen in the media recently the new drug that targets the BRAF gene in melanoma and how it is having unprecedented success for this ..
Protection After Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," How do I protect myself against the sun if I already had skin cancer? Rachel Woods, BSN, RN, Nurse in Moh's micrographic surgery at Penn ..
Vigilant Sun Protection and Still Got Melanoma
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," I have been very vigilant about sun protection for over 20 years. Why did I develop skin cancer now after I have stopped tanning so ..
Past Melanoma, Could I Develop Others?
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," If I have a melanoma lesion removed, could others develop?Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor in Dermatology and Director of the Moh's Surgery Program at Penn ..
Sun Exposure and Cancer Risk
Question I work outside most of the year, how can I avoid getting skin cancer? Answer Gloria DiLullo, MSN, CRNP, OncoLink Content Specialist, responds: Even though you must work outside, ..
Safety of Tanning Salons
Question My daughter and her friends go to the tanning salon. Is this safer than being out in the sun? Answer Gloria DiLullo, MSN, CRNP, OncoLink Content Specialist, responds: Tanning ..
Melanoma in Fingernail
Question Melanoma can occur under a fingernail: Fact or Myth? Answer Christopher Miller, MD, Dermatologist & Moh's Surgeon at Penn Medicine and Rachel Woods, RN, Nurse for the Surgical Dermatology ..
Can Non-Melanoma Turn Into Melanoma?
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," If I have non-melanoma skin cancer, will I get melanoma someday or can it turn into melanoma? Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor in Dermatology and ..


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