By Gary M. White, MD
This nondescript nodule on the scalp of an elderly man turned out to be metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.
See also Sister Mary Joseph's nodule.
Erythematous nodules, plaques, and tumors are typical. There may be diffuse infiltration of the skin, so called carcinoma en cuirasse. In one review of 209 patients with cutaneous metastases, the anterior thorax region was the most affected area and the second was the abdominal region. Breast cancer was most common in women and lung in men. Very rarely, metastatic breast cancer may be pigmented [Dermatology Online J 22(3)].
Obviously referral to an oncologist is in order. Isolated treatment of skin lesions is usually palliative and may include:
Metastatic adenocarcinoma of the breast.
Metastatic prostate cancer. Photo courtesy UC San Diego
Metastatic melanoma near scar.
Metastatic melanoma--multiple distant lesions.
Sometimes metastases present as subcutaneous nodules, here with metastatic leiomyosarcoma.
Prominent supraclavicular lymphadenopathy from metastatic melanoma.
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