Life after treatment

Patient Guide

Life After Treatment for Melanoma

When your treatment for melanoma comes to an end, your medical team will talk you through the next steps.

They will discuss with you what to look out for and who to get in touch with, should you have any concerns. This will include a discussion about your risk of recurrence from your treated melanoma, and your chance of developing new skin cancers in the future.

You may experience mixed feelings.

For some people it is a relief to know that treatment is complete, and they can move on with their lives. They are able to put their recent treatment behind them. If this is you, it is still important that you know who you would contact, should you had any concerns about your melanoma in the future.

For other people, the end of treatment is more difficult. There may be uncertainty about whether treatment has worked. You might have found your regular follow-up visits reassuring and it can be difficult when these happen less often or stop altogether.

If you received any drug treatment for your melanoma there might be extra uncertainty. Drug treatments for melanoma are relatively new and it can be difficult for your medical team to give you accurate information about what could happen in years to come, because this information may not be available.

Treatment for any cancer, including melanoma, can affect your life in many ways. You may not feel the same as you did before your treatment and this can be upsetting. Sometimes treatment for melanoma can affect how you look, or how your body works, or how resilient you feel. There may be practical consequences, such as missed time at work or difficulty obtaining insurance.

If you are investigating what support may be available for you, you might come across the word ‘survivorship’. This is a word used to describe the experience of living with, through and beyond a diagnosis of cancer. As more and more people are successfully treated for cancer, more effort is being put into trying to work out what might be helpful after cancer treatment.

There is support and practical help for people who are finding it difficult. What is available will probably depend on where you live and what the impact of your diagnosis and treatment has been for you. Some support is specifically for people with a diagnosis of melanoma, and some is for patients with any cancer diagnosis.  Different types of support will suit different people – for instance you may find it helpful to talk about your experience or to meet other people in a similar situation. You may be looking for more practical advice to help you get back to the activities you enjoy.

Below are some organisations that you may find helpful if you have completed your melanoma treatment and are looking for some extra help:

Further resources

Maggies https://www.maggies.org

CRUK https://www.cancerresearchuk.org

MIND https://www.mind.org.uk

Shine Cancer Support https://shinecancersupport.org

Melanoma Research Alliance https://www.curemelanoma.org

Working with cancer https://workingwithcancer.co.uk

Astriid https://astriid.org

Sex and cancer https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/impacts-of-cancer/sex-and-cancer

5K Your Way https://5kyourway.org

Live Through This https://livethroughthis.co.uk