The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole or the appearance of a new mole. Since the vast majority of primary melanomas are visible on the skin, there is a good chance of detecting the disease in its early stages before it has a chance to grow and spread.
This is important because when melanoma is found and treated early, the chances for long-term survival are excellent. As melanoma progresses, it becomes increasingly harder to treat and has a worse outcome. Five-year survival rates for patients with early stage (Stage I melanoma) are greater than 92% to 97%.1 Overall, 86% of all diagnosed patients enjoy long term survival after simple tumor surgery.1
1. American Cancer Society 2015