There is a lot of information available online about visible symptoms of melanoma. For example, dermatologists use the ABCDE Melanoma self check method to identify cancerous moles. However, melanoma may also occur inside the body. This article describes internal melanoma symptoms – read on what to look out for.
Internal melanoma symptoms: The warning signs
A dark spot on the iris or vision problems
Ocular melanoma is a very rare form of melanoma that appears as a dark spot on the iris, a change in the shape of the pupil, poor or blurry vision or causes flashing lights or floating specks.
Sores that don’t heal in hidden areas
Mucosal melanoma can appear as sores that don’t heal in your mouth or nasal passages, or in other areas of the body that produce mucus, such as the vagina and anus. If you notice any of these melanoma symptoms in these areas that don’t heal and cannot be explained by other causes, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Melanoma with unknown primary
A particularly scary form of the illness occurs when melanoma forms in rare melanocyte cells in internal organs without any symptoms appearing on the skin. It can also occur when a tumor initially appeared on the skin but was fought off by the immune system, regressed and metastasized to another site inside the body. Unfortunately, no visible ways of detecting these rare occurrences of cancer are yet known. If melanoma has metastasized to internal parts of the body, cancer may exhibit advanced stage symptoms.
The advanced stage internal symptoms of melanoma
Sometimes melanoma can advance beyond the skin to other parts of the body. In this case, melanoma is considered to be at stage 3 or 4. In these later stages, melanoma shows internal symptoms, potentially in combination with a tumor or outward facing skin growth. These internal melanoma symptoms can overlap with many other illnesses and may not necessarily create thoughts about cancer. That is why it is crucial to have any lingering symptoms checked by your doctor as soon as possible, to understand what you’re dealing with, and possibly, to detect cancer in time, before spreads.
Some advanced stage internal melanoma symptoms include:
- hard or swollen lymph nodes (these are located throughout the body but large groupings are around the neck, armpits and groin regions).
- hard lumps in your skin
- shortness of breath, chest pain, noisy breathing or a cough that won’t go away
- pain in your liver (located on the right side of your stomach, under your lower ribs)
- achy bones or a broken bone after a minor injury
- a headache that won’t go away
- bowel issues and constipation
- weight loss
- chronic fatigue
Read more: Melanoma treatment options stage 1 to 4