melanoma

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS FOR MELANOMA?

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS FOR MELANOMA?


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  • - JANELLE CYR
  • - M.D.C.M | PGY-3 DERMATOLOGY
  • - UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

PROGNOSIS

Prognosis, or expected survival, is based on staging. Melanomas in early stages do significantly better than those in later stages, which is why early detection and treatment is key to survival. Overall, the 5-year survival for each stage is as follows:


  • stage I = 90-95%
  • stage II = 78%
  • stage III = 60%
  • stage IV = 6%

However, as more immunotherapies become available to patients, we expect the survival rates to improve in the next several years.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO PROGNOSIS

There are certain factors that have been shown to be associated with a worse prognosis. These are general factors and do not necessarily apply to every case.


  • Sex: In general, men have a worse prognosis than women
  • Age: On average, there is a worse disease prognosis with increased age
  • Location: Melanomas located on the head, neck and trunk are associated with a worse prognosis than those on the extremities
  • Biopsy results: Certain pathological features on biopsy are associated with a worse prognosis such as ulceration and tumour thickness >1mm
  • Extent of disease: Involvement of lymph nodes or evidence of melanoma in areas distant from the initially involved skin (metastases) are associated with the worse prognosis, especially when the metastases are detected in the liver, brain or bone

However, as more immunotherapies become available to patients, we expect the survival rates to improve in the next several years.