In most case of skin cancer, the signs are pretty noticeable. If you notice an unfamiliar mole or a spot that appears like a birthmark, or other flaws on your skin that weren’t there before, you may need to ask a doctor. Nevertheless, there are symptoms that might not have something to do with the skin and here are they.
1. Lump underneath the skin
Lumps underneath the skin in places like the armpits, groin, and neck (though they might be seen in other areas, too) may be an indication of cancer metastases in lymph nodes. Jeremy Davis, MD, a clinical instructor and surgeon at UCLA Health, says:
“It’s not common, but there are situations where your immune system takes care of the primary mole or skin lesion even though cancer itself has metastasized. So cancer started on your skin, but you never saw it.”
Just in case you notice such lump, you must make an appointment with your doctor.
2. Abdominal pain
Melanoma can also metastasize to the liver. According to Dr. Davis, the indication of metastasis is a pain in “upper right quadrant” of the abdomen. Nevertheless, there were a lot of other medical conditions that cause pain in this area, some of which aren’t very risky (e.g. gallstones). But then, even if the pain isn’t causing much trouble, you should visit a doctor.
3. Trouble breathing
Melanoma metastases can also be seen in the lungs. They frequently manifest in shortness of breath and continuous coughing. If you have these indications, chances of them being signs of cancer are very slight. The symptoms commonly show a different illness (e.g. asthma or bronchitis), but they still deserve a medical check-up.
4. Joint pain
Apart from the parts of the body mentioned above, your bones may also be affected by melanoma metastases. The signs are similar to those of arthritis. If you experience pain in your joints, go to the doctor to get some tests to discard cancer.
5. Vision problems
Melanocytes are cells that create melanin, a pigment that provides color to our skin, hair, and eyes. Melanoma cancer originates in melanocytes, which means your eyes may be affected first. In such circumstances, the symptoms are problems with eyesight and “pigments or discolorations in the iris of the eye”, according to Dr. Davis.
6. Spasm and other abdominal problem
Melanoma can cause harms with the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Davis stated that “Diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or pains are all possible.”
Even though it’s occasional, melanoma can start in the brain. The indications are comprised headaches, seizures, or cognitive problems. These symptoms can be a sign of both primary brain melanoma (it started in the brain) or melanoma metastases.
Based on materials from Fabiosa
Illustrated by Germielyn Balondo for Meow GAG