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Follow-Up for Stage III Melanoma

Type of Follow-up

Description of Follow-up

Skin Examination



Physical Examination




Imaging Tests



Brain MRI

Annually by healthcare provider

Monthly self-examination


Years 1-2: every 3-6 months

Years 3-5: every 3-12 months

After Year 5: annually as needed

Monthly self-examination of lymph nodes


Possibly every 3-12 months to check for recurrence


Possibly each year


All patients with Stage III melanoma should have a skin examination once a year for life. Patients should have a physical examination every 3-6 months for years 1-2, every 3-12 months for years 3-5, and then once a year as needed.


Imaging tests are recommended if specific signs of cancer appear.  You may also receive imaging tests every 3-12 months to check for cancer recurrence that isn't causing symptoms. Possible tests for screening include a chest x-ray, CT scan, and a PET/CT scan; and a brain MRI every year. These tests may be done for up to 5 years after treatment has ended.  Imaging tests are not recommended after 5 years if there has been no recurrence and you don't have symptoms.


With treatment, Stage III melanoma is considered intermediate- to high-risk for local recurrence or distant metastasis.


Therefore, early detection of melanoma through skin self- examination and medical examination continues to be of utmost importance.


Large scale studies have shown the following probabilities of disease-free survival: 





5 years after treatment (1)    10 years after treatment (1) 
 Stage IIIA    78%   Stage IIIA:    68%
  Stage IIIB    59%   

Stage IIIB:    43% 


 Stage IIIC    40%

Stage IIIC:    24%




For more on what to do if melanoma recurs click here.


1.American Cancer Society 2011.