What things can affect a prognosis?
There are several things that can affect your chances of recovery or prognosis. Some of the key things are:
- The type of melanoma and where it is located on your body
- The stage of the melanoma (which includes the extent to which it is has spread)
- Your overall health and fitness
- Treatment is coordinated by a specialist skin cancer multidisciplinary team
- The type of treatment that is chosen
- How well your melanoma responds to treatment
It is really hard to predict how the course of your melanoma and your cancer treatment is likely to go. It is important to know that your prognosis can change and is only an estimation of what could happen. A prognosis can improve if you have a good response to a treatment that shrinks a melanoma, and stops it from growing or spreading elsewhere. On the other hand, a prognosis can worsen if there is spread of the melanoma to a vital organ like the brain.
What are survival rates for melanoma?
You may have come across the term survival rates. These figures show how many people live after being diagnosed with melanoma.
Often these figures show a 5-year or 10-year survival rate, and group them by the stage of melanoma. The number includes an average of thousands of people. Some of them may be living with melanoma without treatment, some of them may be entirely melanoma-free or cured. It is important to know that these figures are averages of large groups of people, over multiple years.
Survival rates describe what happens to a group of people diagnosed with a similar condition and do not predict your own survival and exactly what will happen in your case. Melanoma is very treatable and multiple advances in treatment continue to improve survival rates.