After a Melanoma Diagnosis

Screening and Follow-up

melanoma_skin_check

There are currently no recommendations for routine screenings for people who have never had Melanoma. However, if you have had a Melanoma diagnosis before, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that you:

- have at least annual dermatologist follow-up screenings to monitor your skin,
- and that you self-examine your skin regularly.

Depending on the Melanoma stage at your intial diagnosis, you may need more frequent screenings. You may also need to self-examine your lymph nodes. Consult with your dermatologist to plan a screening regime that applies to your needs specifically.

Life after a Melanoma Diagnosis

After a Melanoma diagnosis, the survival prognosis is often good: out of 100 people diagnosed with Melanoma, on average 92 will survive for at least 5 years. Expected survival varies with the Melanoma stage at diagnosis. The earlier Melanoma is found, the better the prognosis.

However, as a Melanoma survivor, you are at an increased risk to have a second Melanoma: you are about 9 times as likely to have another Melanoma as someone who has never had Melanoma before. Therefore, minimizing the risk of Melanoma is especially important for you.

There are things you can do to minimize your risk of having a second Melanoma: 

melanoma_protection

- Stay inside between late morning and mid-afternoon while sunshine is strongest.

- If you have to be outside during the day, stay in the shade.

- Do not use tanning lights.

- Wear protective clothing: long sleeves, long pants or skirts, wide-brimmed hats.

- Protect you eyes: wear sunglasses with UV (UVA and UVB) protection.

- Wear sunscreen, ideally with an SPF of at least 30, and re-apply every two hours.

- Self-examine: Familiarize yourself with your own skin so you will be able to notice changes.

- If you suspect changes in your skin, even if you are not sure, contact your dermatologist.