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what does superficial meanoma with regression mean?

By Anonymous December 30, 2010 - 10:52am
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I have bdeen examined and had a 10x9mm minimaaly palpable irregularly pigmented melanocyticv lesion on my back consistent with a melanoma on dermoscopoy. There was a further 18x14mm pink and oigmented lesin on my left lower leg which looked atypical. The consultant wondered wether this could represent a superficial melanoma with regression. I have no lymphadenophathy but have a 2.5cm superficiakky ulcerated morphoeic BCC obn my righ back.

My consultant excised two pigmented lesions on an urgent basis.

I do not unerstand any of this hoping you can explain at the simple level for me to understand

Brian Dossett

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Brian - Thanks for contacting us. I'm a leukemia patient and my oncologist uses clinical jargon all the time that can be confusing. You shouldn't hesitate to ask your doctors to explain things to you in lay terms so that you can better understand what you are dealing with and protect your own best health.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation,
melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If it is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.

The information you've provided seems to indicate that a possible melanoma lesion was found on your back. Additional, questionable lesions were also found. It looks like skin samples were taken for biopsy, which is a test to determine if cancer is present. These tests are typically done in a specialty lab and are not done in the doctor's office.

Superficial spreading melanoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, is the most common type, accounting for about 70 percent of all cases. This is the one most often seen in young people. As the name suggests, this melanoma grows along the top layer of the skin for a fairly long time before penetrating more deeply.

The first sign is the appearance of a flat or slightly raised discolored patch that has irregular borders and is somewhat asymmetrical in form. The color varies, and you may see areas of tan, brown, black, red, blue or white.

You should be informed of the biopsy results soon. If they do indicate melanoma (cancer) is present the next step will be what is called staging of the cancer. This is a way that doctors classify the disease in terms of severity, and it takes into account such factors as thickness, how deep it has penetrated into the skin and whether or not it has spread. The staging level is used to decide what type of treatment is needed.

Early melanomas (Stages I and II) are localized, which is a way of saying they are in one area. More advanced melanomas (Stages III and IV) have metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body.

There are also subdivisions within stages. You can find detailed information about this at the following link: http://www.skincancer.org/melanoma/All-Pages.html

We've given you a lot of information to digest, and you may have more questions down the road. If so, don't hesitate to ask and let us know how we can help.

Take care,

December 30, 2010 - 6:19pm

Here is a helpful chart that explains the different types of tumors and stages.

I have also forwarded your question to one of our cancer experts, to see if she has any additional information to add.

December 30, 2010 - 11:56am

Your specific question: "what is superficial melanoma with regression" can be explained in this way:
- superficial = growing on top layer only (tumor is not deep)
- melanoma = cancer of the skin
- with regression = less severe symptoms or disease progression
Medical jargon, "Regression is the replacement of tumor tissue with fibrosis, degenerated melanoma cells, lymphocytic proliferation, and telangiectasia formation".

Here are some helpful sites to learn more:
- Skin Cancer Foundation: Types of Melanoma
- American Cancer Society: Staging of Melanoma
- Melamoma Advocacy Sheet (Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Does this help answer your questions?

December 30, 2010 - 11:55am
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