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Malignant Melanoma of the Colon and Rectum

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Updated: February 12, 2007

When most people think of malignant melanoma, the first thing that comes to mind is skin cancer. But malignant melanoma can occur in a lot of places, including the colon and rectum.

Skin Cancer Can Give Me Colon Cancer?

Malignant melanoma is notorious for its ability to spread to other organs. Usually when it's found in the colon or rectum, it has spread there from somewhere else. So yes, skin cancer can give a person colorectal cancer, but it's unlikely. Malignant melanoma of the colon and rectum accounts for less than two percent of all colorectal cancers.

Symptoms of Malignant Melanoma

If it does spread, it can take anywhere from two months to 12 years for symptoms of colon or rectal cancer to show up after the original melanoma is diagnosed. Symptoms of malignant melanoma of the colon or rectum include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss. On average, if melanoma spreads to the colon or rectum, these symptoms show up in five years.

Take-Home Message

If you've ever been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting screened for colorectal cancer, just to make sure you're in the clear.

Related Articles: Other Types of Colorectal Cancer: Sources:
  1. Avital, S. and Romaguera, R.L. "Primary Malignant Melanoma of the Right Colon." American Journal of Surgery 70.7 (2004): 649-651. PubMed. 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15279192&dopt=Abstract].
  2. Hormaza, Jose A. "Melanoma Anal: Reporte de Dos Casos y Revision de Tema." Revista Colombiana de Gastroenterologia 16.4 (Feb. 2002). 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.encolombia.com/medicina/gastroenterologia/gastro16402caso.htm].
  3. Kayhan, Burçak and Turan, Nesrin. "A Rare Entity in the Rectum: Malignant Melanoma." The Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology 14.4 (2003): 273-275. 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.turkgastro.org/text.php?id=301].
  4. Mandot A. and Kazi K. "Primary Malignant Melanoma of Right Colon." Indian Journal of Gastroenterology 25.2 (2006):96-97. 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.indianjgastro.com/article.asp?issn=0254-8860;year=2006;volume=25;issue=2;spage=96;epage=97;aulast=Mandot].
  5. McNicol, F.J. and Jones, L.S. "Primary Malignant Melanoma of the Colon in an Oculocutaneous Albino." The Surgeon 3.5 (Oct. 2005): 358-359. PubMed. 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16245656&dopt=Abstract].
  6. Rodrigues, Gabriel and Kudva, Annappa. "Primary Anal Malignant Melanoma." The Internet Journal of Surgery 4.1 (2003). 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.ispub.com/ostia/index.php?xmlFilePath=journals/ijs/vol4n1/anal.xml].
  7. Takahashi, Takeshi and Velasco, Liliana. "Anorectal Melanoma: Report of Three Cases with Extended Follow-up." Southern Medical Journal 97.3 (2004):311-313. PubMed. 5 Jul. 2006 [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/472616].
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