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When Melanoma Metastasizes to the Brain

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Did you know? About 7-10% of skin cancer patients develop brain metastasis. Image: Doctor looking at MRI results

Melanoma cells are one of the most common cancers that can migrate to the brain, creating a new challenge for patients after their initial round of cancer treatment. While the risk of brain metastases may be explained to new cancer patients during their treatment, it’s easy for patients and caregivers to be overwhelmed with the amount of information that they are receiving so this can get lost. 

An estimated 7% to 10% of patients with melanoma develop brain metastases. These tumors typically occur a few years after melanoma is found (on average, 22 to 37 months). 

Are You at Risk for Brain Metastases?

Brain metastases are not unique to melanoma; other cancers like lung, breast, kidney and colon cancer can also spread to the brain. Metastatic brain tumors are the most common type of brain tumor in adults. They can present as a single tumor or many tumors, which isn’t uncommon. 

Understanding the unique characteristics of metastatic brain tumors can help doctors create effective, individualized treatment. Understanding your risks can help empower you to better advocate for yourself. Knowing what to ask your doctor can be difficult and hard to remember. Here are some questions that can help guide these conversations in English and in Spanish.   

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month

To help highlight the importance of brain metastases, the American Brain Tumor Association, the Melanoma Research Foundation, and AIM at Melanoma are partnering to raise awareness about the risks and impact of brain metastases.  

On Thursday, May 9, the ABTA will host a free webinar for patients, caregivers, and survivors entitled How Metastatic Brain Tumors Affect Your Melanoma Care.” This webinar, in partnership with AIM at Melanoma and the Melanoma Research Foundation, will provide a deeper dive into the brain metastases experience for melanoma, exploring risks, progression, signs and symptoms, treatment options, and management. 

This webinar will also include a live Q&A with the speakers.   

REGISTER FOR THE FREE WEBINAR HERE: https://give.abta.org/Melanoma

In addition to the webinar, the ABTA always offers free, educational brochures, support services, and tools to educate and empower those affected by a metastatic brain tumor. 

To speak with a dedicated ABTA team member, you can call the ABTA CareLine toll-free at 800-886-2282 during weekday business hours, or email us at info@abta.org.

Picture of Jessie Schlacks

Jessie Schlacks

Jessie is Managing Editor of the bi-monthly e-newsletter MindMatters. Submit story ideas or questions to jschlacks@abta.org.