Skin Cancer, Melanoma
Melanoma develops when normal pigment-producing skin cells called Reference melanocytes Opens New Window become abnormal, grow uncontrollably, and invade surrounding tissues. Usually only one melanoma develops at a time. Melanomas can begin in an existing Reference mole Opens New Window or other skin growth, but most start in unmarked skin.
When melanoma is found early, it can often be cured by surgery to remove it. But after melanoma spreads, it is harder to cure.
Experts talk about prognosis in terms of "5-year survival rates." The 5-year survival rate means the percentage of people who are still alive 5 years or longer after their cancer was discovered. Remember that these are only averages. Everyone's case is different, and these numbers don't necessarily show what will happen to you. The estimated 5-year survival rate for melanoma is:Reference 2
- 98% if cancer is found early and treated before it has spread.
- 62% if the cancer has spread to close-by tissue.
- 15% if the cancer has spread farther away, such as to the liver, brain, or bones.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 12, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology