• Head & Neck Mucosal Melanoma: Diagnosis, Staging & Prognosis

Head & Neck Mucosal Melanoma: Diagnosis, Staging & Prognosis

How is head and neck mucosal melanoma diagnosed?

The clinical team will make a diagnosis based on the results of your tests and medical examination. If you are diagnosed with a mucosal melanoma, your cancer will be evaluated according to a process known as staging. The stage indicates whether the cancer has spread in your body and, if so, where. This staging process will help you and the cancer team make decisions about your future treatment.

Head and neck mucosal melanoma staging

The UICC (Union for International Cancer Control) TNM staging system is used to stage mucosal melanoma. In addition to other information the team should record in particular:

  • Location of the primary (original) tumour
  • Primary Tumour size and extent of tumours
  • Lymph Node involvement (whether or not the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes (also called glands)
  • Presence or absence of distant Metastasis (whether or not the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body).

Head and neck mucosal melanoma prognosis

The cancer team will make a prediction of the outcome of your cancer – your prognosis – based on the results of your tests and examination and on what happened to others who have had similar cancers.

If you and/or a relative or carer want to have a full discussion about your prognosis, make this clear to someone from the cancer team. It will mean that your appointments will be more informative and will enable you to be more involved in planning your treatment and other aspects of your life. On the other hand you may wish to take it ‘one step at a time’. Whatever your decision, you will be fully supported by the cancer team.

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