Stage III Follow-Up

After treatment, all patients with Stage III melanoma should receive a physical examination, including a skin examination, using the following schedule. Regular chest x-rays, CT scans of the trunk and pelvis, and brain MRI may also be recommended.

Type of Follow-up Description

Skin Examination

Annually by healthcare provider
Monthly self-examination

Physical 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

Imaging Tests

Possibly every 3-12 months to check for recurrence

Brain MRI

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, PET/CT scan, and brain MRI. 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 no symptoms.

Survival Rates

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. Keep in mind that the statistics shown for survival are averages; everyone’s cancer and survival rate is based on many factors and determined on an individual basis.

5 years after treatment 1 10 years after treatment1

Stage IIIA: 78%

Stage IIIA: 68%

Stage IIIB: 59%

Stage IIIB: 43%

Stage IIIC: 40%

Stage IIIC: 24%

References:

1. American Cancer Society 2011

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