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Melanoma (cont.)

Melanoma Follow-up

Once a melanoma has been diagnosed and treated, it is important for the patient to be seen regularly by a physician. This is important for two reasons:

  1. monitoring the patient for metastatic melanoma and
  2. monitoring for new melanomas.

What Is the Prognosis of Melanoma?

Prognosis is most closely related to the thickness of the melanoma as measured by the pathologist. Other factors of importance include

  • the anatomic depth of penetration,
  • ulceration,
  • mitotic activity, and
  • gene expression studies.

This is why it is of great importance to remove the entire melanoma at its earliest stage to preclude the possibility of metastatic spread.

Is It Possible to Prevent Melanoma?

There is general agreement that ultraviolet light is the major environmental cause of most cutaneous melanomas. Avoiding ultraviolet light exposure by eliminating sunbathing (for cosmetic purposes, including artificial tanning), wearing appropriate clothing, and using effective sunscreens are prudent methods to prevent melanomas as well as most other sorts of skin cancer and photoaging. Concerns about vitamin D deficiency are overcome by taking supplements containing at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

For More Information on Melanoma

Melanoma Care Coalition

Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology


Yao, Katharine, Glen Balch, and David J. Winchester. "Multidisciplinary Treatment of Primary Melanoma." Surg Clin N Am 89 (2009): 267-281.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2015

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