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Lung Cancer - Melanoma
I’ve posted before, dad’s physician told me 81-year old dad has stage four lung cancer (won’t have biopsy-his decision) though physician said 85-90% confident it is lung cancer.  He has 4cm mass and 6 nodules on other lung since last Nov. ‘07.  No symptoms.  

Dad has had “bumps” (irregular, brown, raised) on his face for probably over a month.  He even thinks it’s melanoma, and I noticed today that one of the bumps was bleeding.  If this is melanoma from the lung cancer, can you please explain to me what is happening?  Has the cancer spread, to where, what should I be prepared for, how long?  Any advice would be extremely helpful
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Hi,

Melanoma is a primary cancer of the skin, it is not a secondary spread from a lung cancer. It is possible that the melanoma may spread into the lung, making the lung nodules secondary spread from melanoma. It is also possible that there are two cancers simultaneously present.  

A problem here is that you don’t have any confirmatory biopsy for either. If the bumps on the face are moles, have color/pigment variations, with irregular borders, appear ulcerated – then an evaluation for melanoma is indeed in order. Melanoma tends to spread to lymph nodes, so if the lungs are secondary melanoma – then you should be able to find some nodes along the neck as well.

Alternatively, the problems in the face may simply be skin infection.

The best step may be to have the problems in the face evaluated. If it is infection, then there would be a lot of treatment options that could improve things.

It’s hard to make predictions about how long anyone is going to live, especially in the absence of any confirmatory diagnosis. If it is cancer, advanced lung cancer patients have a 50% chance of reaching 4 to 6 months. For advanced melanoma, it may be 1 year. Bear in mind that these are general estimates, there is a decline in functionality over the last few months, so for as long as daily living is pretty active – there may be a fair chance of belonging in the 50% group that goes beyond the average.

Stay positive.  
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