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Now summer is finally here (for now, at least),
it’s important to remember to stay safe in the sun, as sun exposure is a risk
factor for skin cancer.
Last Thursday, we hosted a web chat on skin cancer
with Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist Carol Goodman.
Carol answered questions on symptoms and types of skin cancer, and on risk
factors and prevention.
Thanks very much to Carol for coming along. If
you’d like to know more, have a look at the skin
cancer pages of our website.
had skin cancer in 1996 and was under hospital for 12 years. What are the
chances of it returning? It was melanoma, on the inside of my right arm.
Was it a thin melanoma?
not sure, but they cut all the skin from a large hole and skin grafted.
It seems that
you are doing well so your chances 12 years on are good.
was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in February this year and I’ve since had
two operations. The concern I have is around my family history and how it
affects me. My identical twin sister was
diagnosed with malignant melanoma 5 years ago.
Unfortunately she passed away last year.
Obviously, being identical twins we have almost identical DNA. She was
BRAF positive. So I am assuming I am
too. Does this mean that my melanoma
will progress in the same way? How do I
Genetics is a very complicated subject so it would
probably help you to chat to the nurses on our Support Line in more detail -
they'd be happy to advise you. It’s freephone 0808 808 0000 (Monday-Friday,
daughter's father has had several recurrences of malignant melanoma in the past
few years. I am obviously very vigilant with sun cream etc, but I have my
concerns that genetic factors were involved, especially as his cancer was a
lump under the skin rather than a mole. What are the statistics regarding
genetics and melanoma?
As with the previous question, genetics is very
complicated – if you give the Support Line a call you can talk through your
family history in more detail with one of the nurses.
There is also some information on our website about
history and melanoma.
are the chances of survival if I have skin cancer?
Chances of survival depends on type and stage of
treatment currently has been to operate and after two operations they believe
it has been removed and I have my next check up tomorrow. Apart from being
careful in the sun and being checked every three months, should I push for any
That sounds like the standard treatment plan. They
will tell you tomorrow if there is any further plan. Avoiding the sun would be
a good plan, and do ask that they monitor you.
is the difference between malignant melanoma and malignant peripheral nerve
sheath tumour please?
One is a skin cancer and the other is a type of
sarcoma connective tissue cancer. Read
more about nerve sheath tumours.
34 and two years clear of her2+; ER-; PR- breast cancer. I have a raised
freckle on my wrist which has recently changed shape – it’s become pale in the
centre and now has a white ring around it. Should I be concerned?
We always recommend that you see you GP in the
first instance to get any unusual moles or markings on your skin examined.
it common for malignant melanoma to begin as a blind lump rather than an
Malignant melanomas take several forms. So if you
have some unusual makings then see your GP.
or three years ago I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my lower eye-lid
and am currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Having now had two types
of cancer am I at an increased risk of developing further cancers?
BCC are common skin cancers - 75% of skin cancers
are this type. It is very uncommon to have two cancers so it is less likely
that you will develop more types. If you have any symptoms you are concerned
about, see your GP.
you know the success rates of interferon treatment for melanoma?
This is a
question you will need to ask your oncologist because success rates are
dependant on many factors and individual. Two people with the same cancer can
have very different results.
Do you have info on the success rate
currently being used in a trial by Professor Patel. It is said to provide some
quality of life; a trial comparing it with chemotherapy ended in 2008. You can
see more on the results here http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertreatment/Treatmenttypes/Biologicaltherapies/Monoclonalantibodies/Ipilimumab.aspx,
and here http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/08August/Pages/new-skincancer-drug-yervoy-ipilimumab.aspx.
sister’s cancer has spread to her brain; this since she finished her course of
Yervoy and the side effects have been devastating - 2 months now hospitalised.
Her prognosis is months. Is it possible that the Yervoy could reach to the
antibodies are targeted therapies because they work by damaging cancer cells.
Ipilimumab is a bit different because it works by attaching itself to normal
immune cells. This changes the way these cells work and helps the immune system
destroy cancer cells.
sorry to hear about your sister – if you feel in need of some support, you can
call our Support Line or join the Online Community to
share your experiences with others who may have been through something similar.
radiotherapy have a positive or negative effect on melanoma if it falls within
an area being treated? For example, if you have melanoma that falls within a
targeted region for say breast cancer (which could be the size of a dinner
plate), could the fallout, so to speak, have an effect on the melanoma - wake
something that has been laying dormant?
This sounds like quite an unusual set of
circumstances – if you give our Support Line a call, one of the nurses will be
happy to discuss this in more detail. It’s freephone 0808 808 0000
We have some more information on radiotherapy
for melanoma on our website.
it known whether skin cancer can be caused by just one incidence of UV
exposure, or is it due to long-term, repeated exposure?
several factors that can be a cause of skin cancer – sun, environmental
factors, genetics and age.
live in the Caribbean and I have a pinhead sized 'spot' near my collar bone
which is a little 'crusty'. However, it
has not changed in any way for nearly a year, is neither itchy nor painful, and
never bleeds. Is that something that
should be looked at or just a symptom of ageing skin (I am 58 years old)?
It is more than likely an age-related solar spot
from years of sun exposure. But get it checked by your doctor, just to be on
the safe side.
have a small lump on my eyelid which has been there for over a year. At first
it was like a small spot which bled but now it's just a sort of unevenness on
my upper eye line. Should I be worried?
It is always better to let your GP see this and
refer you for a check.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
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