Q: About 2 1/2 months ago my husband got sick with a bad sinus infection. He lost his voice for a couple of days and has not completely gotten his voice back. When he speaks his voice sounds harsh and you can tell he has been sick. I've also noticed some red patches that are on his body. One under his arm pit, one on his hips and one on his leg. He refuses to go to the doctor. I'm concerned about him and wonder if these are signs of cancer. His father died of Melanoma at age 42. My husband is 36 and does smoke. Any opinion what this might be?
Dr. Donnica: Given this limited information, it’s impossible to tell what specifically is going wrong with your husband, but it is clear that it’s time for him to consult a physician, ideally an internist. Maybe it will help if you tell him I said so?! It is quite likely that he has more than one medical problem and they may or may not be related. Did the red patches appear only after his sinus infection? They sound more like a viral associated rash, but he would need to have them evaluated to rule out melanoma, especially given his family history. Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. It is slightly more common in men than women and is the fifth most common malignancy in men. It can occur at any age, although the average age at diagnosis is 57. Approximately 10% of all patients with melanoma have a family history of melanoma. These patients typically develop melanoma at an earlier age and tend to have multiple dysplastic nevi. As a result, he should have a complete skin exam—“mole check”--annually. Quite honestly, however, in a smoker with a persistent harsh-sounding voice, I’m more concerned about throat or lung cancer, although it’s quite likely that his sinus infection is not completely resolved & that he still has a related post nasal drip.
Created: 1/22/2010  - Donnica Moore, M.D.