If melanoma returns
In the vast majority of cases, early melanoma will not come back (recur) after treatment. The risk of the melanoma coming back after treatment is higher for people with regional melanoma. Recurrence can occur at the site where the melanoma was removed (locally); in the lymph nodes; or further away in other body sites, like the lung, brain or liver.
People who have had one melanoma have about five times the risk of developing a new melanoma compared with the average person their age. It is important to be familiar with your skin, examine it for changes, and visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
During follow-up appointments, your doctor will examine the melanoma site and lymph nodes for any spread. Your doctor will also check the rest of your skin for other possible melanomas.
If the cancer returns, your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you. These will depend on where the cancer has recurred, as well as the stage and grade of the cancer. You may be offered immunotherapy, targeted therapy or the option to join a clinical trial.
A/Prof Victoria Atkinson, Senior Staff Specialist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Visiting Medical Oncologist, Greenslopes Private Hospital, and The University of Queensland Clinical School of Medicine, QLD; Adjunct Prof John Kelly AM, Consultant Dermatologist, Victorian Melanoma Service, and Department of Medicine at Alfred Health, Monash University, VIC; Dr Alex Chamberlain, Dermatologist, Glenferrie Dermatology, Victorian Melanoma Service and Monash Univeristy, VIC; Alison Button-Sloan, Melanoma Patients Australia; Peter Cagney, Consumer; Prof Brendon J Coventry, Associate Professor of Surgery, The University of Adelaide, Surgical Oncologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital, and Research Director, Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, SA; Dr David Gyorki, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Liz King, Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Cancer Council NSW; Shannon Jones, SunSmart Health Professionals Coordinator, Cancer Council Victoria; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof Richard Scolyer, Senior Staff Specialist, Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Co-Medical Director, Melanoma Institute Australia and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Heather Walker, Chair, Cancer Council National Skin Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Australia. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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