While most melanomas develop externally on the skin, a mucosal melanoma develops internally in the mucous membranes that line various parts of the body. About 50 percent of mucosal melanomas start in the head and neck in such areas as the sinuses, nasal passages, mouth, and eyes.
Mucosal melanoma is a very rare type of cancer, accounting for less than 1 percent of all melanomas. It can manifest as lip and oral cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, or sinus and nasal cavity cancer, or as a lump in the neck, jaw, or mouth.
Symptoms of mucosal melanoma of the head and neck may be:
At BSSNY, treatment of mucosal melanoma is multidisciplinary approach that may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Primary treatment is usually surgery to remove the tumor or area where the cancer cells have developed. To help prevent the cancer from returning, your surgeon may recommend radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy after surgery has been performed.