Moving on After Treatment
After your treatment is over, it is very important to keep all follow-up appointments. If you have had melanoma, you are at increased risk of developing a second melanoma or recurrence. Also, there may possibly be side effects of certain treatments. This is the time for you to ask your health care team any questions you need answered and to discuss any concerns you might have.
Your follow-up should include regular skin exams by you and by your doctor. Your doctor will also check for lymph node swelling and do a general physical exam. How often you need follow-up visits depends on the stage of your melanoma when you were diagnosed. In addition to the exams, blood and imaging tests may be recommended for some patients.
It is also important for melanoma survivors to do regular skin self-exams. You should see your doctor if you find any new lump or change in your skin. You should also report to your doctor any new symptoms (for example, pain, cough, fatigue, loss of appetite) that do not go away. Melanoma can come back as many as 10 or (rarely) more years after it was first treated.
It is also important to keep medical insurance. Even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, it is always a possibility. If it happens, the last thing you want is to have to worry about paying for treatment. Many people have been bankrupted by cancer recurrence.
Melanoma can come back as many as 10 or (rarely) more years after it was first treated.
A person who has had one melanoma may still be at risk for developing another melanoma or a non-melanoma type of skin cancer.
People cured of one melanoma should continue to examine their skin every month for new skin cancers and should avoid overexposure to the sun.