Being diagnosed with recurrent melanoma

How recurrent melanoma is diagnosed

After your initial treatment, your specialist will see you regularly. They will check your skin for signs of the melanoma coming back (a recurrence). Your specialist will examine the area thoroughly. They usually also examine the rest of your skin to see if you have any other unusual areas.

You may be regularly checking your skin yourself. Tell your specialist if you develop symptoms that could be caused by melanoma, such as a small lump or nodule under the original scar. Your doctor or specialist nurse can tell you what symptoms to look for.

Having a biopsy

Your specialist will take a sample of cells (biopsy) from the abnormal area to find out what it is. A doctor, called a pathologist, looks at the sample under the microscope and checks for any cancer cells.

If the melanoma has come back, your specialist will remove the abnormal area with an operation called a local excision.

Your specialist will also suggest that you have further tests to see if it has spread elsewhere in the body.

Waiting for test results

Waiting for test results can be a difficult time. It may take from a few days to a couple of weeks for the results of your tests to be ready. You may find it helpful to talk with your partner, family or a close friend. Your specialist nurse or one of the organisations listed on our database, can also provide support. You can also talk things over with one of our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00.

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