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What Are the Survival Rates for People with Melanoma?

Feb 6, 2009

When found early and treated properly, melanoma is highly curable. These are the facts according to the American Cancer Society, based in part on the 2008 American Joint Committee on Cancer Melanoma Staging Database:

  • Stage IA. The five-year survival rate is around 97 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 95 percent.

  • Stage IB. The five-year survival rate is around 92 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 86 percent.

  • Stage IIA. The five-year survival rate is 81 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 67 percent.

  • Stage IIB. The five-year survival rate is 70 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 57 percent.

  • Stage IIC. The five-year survival rate is around 53 percent. The 10-year survival rate is 40 percent.

  • Stage IIIA. The five-year survival rate is around 78 percent. The 10-year survival rate is 68 percent.

  • Stage IIIB. The five-year survival rate is around 59 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 43 percent.

  • Stage IIIC. The five-year survival rate is around 40 percent. The 10-year survival rate is around 24 percent.

  • Stage IV. The five-year survival rate is around 15 to 20 percent. The 10-year survival rate is 10 to 15 percent. This rate is higher if the cancer has spread only to the skin or distant lymph nodes and not to vital organs.

Factors other than stage also affect survival. For example:

  • In general, survival declines with age, especially after age 70.

  • Survival tends to be shorter if the melanoma occurs on a foot, palm, or nail bed. People with melanoma who have had an organ transplant or who have HIV infection are also at higher risk of dying from melanoma.

  • Although African Americans are less likely to get melanoma than whites, their survival rates are lower when they do get it.

Remember, these statistics are based on large groups of people and cannot be used to predict what will happen to a certain patient. No two people are exactly alike, and treatment and responses to treatment vary.

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