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Alternative namesThormahlen's test; Melanin - urine
DefinitionThis is a test to determine the abnormal presence of melanin in the urine.
How the test is performed
Collect a "clean-catch" (midstream) urine sample. To do so, men and boys should wipe clean the head of the penis . Women or girls need to wash the area between the lips of the vagina with soapy water and rinse well.
As you start to urinate, allow a small amount to fall into the toilet bowl (this clears the urethra of contaminants). Then, in a clean container, catch about 1 to 2 ounces of urine and remove the container from the urine stream. Give the container to the health care provider or assistant.
Check your baby frequently and remove the bag after the infant has urinated into it. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag, causing an inability to obtain the specimen. The urine is drained into a container for transport back to the health care provider.
How to prepare for the testIf you are collecting urine from an infant, it may be helpful to have a few spare collection bags.
How the test will feelThe test involves only normal urination.
Why the test is performed
Malignant melanoma is a cancerous tumor of the skin cells that produce pigment. This disease is usually visible on the skin, but if the malignant cells metastasize to internal areas of the body, you may never see the cancer .
If the skin cell tumors are growing within the body (especially within the liver), melanin may be produced in sufficient quantities to be present in the urine.
Normal ValuesNormally, melanin is not present in urine.
What abnormal results meanIf melanin is present in the urine, malignant melanoma is suspected.
What the risks areThere are no risks associated with this test.
Update Date: 9/3/2003Michael C. Milone, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT