• Head & Neck Mucosal Melanoma: Symptoms

Head & Neck Mucosal Melanoma: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of head and neck mucosal melanoma?

The most common places to have a mucosal melanoma of the head and neck region are in the nose, including the sinuses, or the mouth. More uncommonly they occur in the larynx. As with skin melanomas, there may be an area which is pigmented (darker) but this is NOT always the case. The symptoms are those often associated with less serious conditions and include:

  • Nosebleeds out of one nostril only that have occurred several times over at least a 3-week period
  • Blockage of one nostril, which nose drops haven’t helped and which have occurred several times or for a long time over at least a 3-week period
  • A lump on the tongue or in the mouth that may or may not bleed or be darkly pigmented that is growing bigger and has been there for at least 3 weeks
  • A mouth ulcer which hasn’t got better in 3 weeks
  • Unexplained hoarseness which hasn’t got better in 3 weeks
  • Swollen glands in the neck which haven’t got better in 3 weeks

If you have any of these symptoms and your GP cannot find another cause, you should be referred quickly (normally within about two weeks) to a specialist head and neck clinic with experience of this condition, and usually to a head and neck surgeon, for tests and further evaluation. It is most important that the team you see regularly treats patients with this condition. As it is so rare, you may need to travel to a specialist centre rather than attend your local hospital.

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