I am just wondering if anyone has not had their melanoma come back. It was in my lymph node and I am on edge if/when it’s going to come back. My doctor gives me the oh it might come back it might not we don’t know. I was just looking for a ballpark are we talking a 10% or a 90% chance of it returning. I just wanted to hear from people if it didn’t come back or is that a rarity.
Hi @moonmomma, I know statistics can be tricky, because we can’t know which group we’ll end up in even if the chances are low. However, I’m sharing a few articles that speak to how many people have not had a recurrence of melanoma. This article has an infographic that shows how our survey takers with melanoma were more likely to have it once than more than multiple times: https://skincancer.net/infographic/true-impact/. This article, though it focuses more on community members that did have recurrence, says that the rate is between 5% and 10% and includes a citation if you want to read further: https://skincancer.net/life-with-skin-cancer/feedback-community-recurrences/. I hope this helps, and perhaps we’ll hear from others who haven’t had a recurrence. – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team
I’ll share them here! The responses are still growing – people are definitely thinking about this question constantly.
“I had first one in Sept 2017 then noticed spot on hip. Dr thought it looked fine didn’t want to take it but I stated it started just like my first one. She said ok and did a shave biopsy. Got the phone call a week later and she said “you were right!”.. Listen to your gut folks! I’m watching a few other spots and I’m back on the 3 month checks. Stay vigilant.”
“I was 7 years NED and three weeks ago went for my 6 month dermatology appointment and they took a mole off that had changed from my previous mole mapping images and It came back melanoma. I have a wide excision biopsy scheduled next week. I have had 4 severely atypical – so those were wide excised As well and 3 basal cell carcinomas. All we can do is be aware of our skin – and don’t wait to have things checked out. 🖤
1 st melanoma was stage 3B – this one is much earlier and superficial- thank God!”
“I was 28 when diagnosed and I’m 48 now with no reoccurrence. After surgical removal I met with an oncologist with no further action recommended. I see my dermatologist once a year and use sunscreen faithfully.”
“It was 23 years ago that I found a lump in my left breast and even though I was young I still had it looked at which resulted in a biopsy. The test came back positive for Melanoma and it was in the second stage and it had spread to the lymph nodes in my armpit so I needed some pretty severe surgery to get rid of all of it. Well after a lot of Doctors visits and 22 more biopsies I’m still here trying to live my best life and watching my sons grow up to be awesome men, so don’t worry dear it may come back or it may not just never give in to fear and always live your life to the fullest because no one has a pass for a perfectly healthy life. Bless you and good luck on your journey! 🌹”
“Stage 3 2004. Stage 4 2010. Interferon, Interleukin 2, two clinical trials at NIH in Maryland, Yervoy, Keytruda. NED since 2017. Scans every 6 months rest if my life. Dermatologist every 6 months. It will always be on my mind. I enjoy the good times right now. I try not to dwell TOO much on it returning but, of course, that does not always work. Scans yesterday and still all clear.”
“It’s been 45 years and it has not come back. I go to the dermatologist every 3 months for ck. ups and every 6 months I have a full body exam. I AM VERY LUCKY! I grew up at the Jersey Shore and was at the beach every day all summer long.”
“My Oncologist, who I’ve trusted since my diagnosis in 2014 has told us that unfortunately melanoma is one of those cancers that doesn’t go into what people consider being in remission. Melanoma recurrence is more of a when and where it returns type of cancer, especially if it has metastasized once already. Immunotherapy has so far saved us from a death sentence.”
“Had my first melanoma diagnosis in March of this year, scared me to death. I will say I’m lucky, but it’s only because I have to go to full body checks every 3 months since 2014. The spot I would have never found, but fortunately it was caught early… Get checked regularly, no exceptions…”
“4 years since melanoma, but quite a few basal cell & squamous for me since then. My next check up is in 3 weeks, so I’m hoping for no new spots to be biopsied. I’m hoping I’m through playing whack-a-mole!”
“I am stage 3a been NED for 6 years. – This is my story-What can I say? 6 years ago, life that I knew it changed. Or let’s say that something changed my life. I am sharing my story with you, that way, you may never have to hear those 3 words- You have cancer.
Here is my story. Please take care of your body.
Who am I? I am a wife of a police officer, firefighter, EMT and military man. I am also a Melanoma Survivor. On January 28,2013, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with melanoma. However, it really goes back to August or September of 2012, that is when I really noticed something. I thought it was a pimple on my back because it itched, I asked my husband, who at the time was getting ready to go overseas, to look at my back and he said it is a mole. Well that should have be a red flag for me, because I don’t have moles. Off he went and about 2 months later I went to the doctors for my physical and she asked me if anything was bothering me and I said I have this spot on my back, she looked at it and said let’s take that off and send it off to pathology. Off it came and 2 weeks later, I got the phone call that changed my life. The doctor says you have melanoma, ok well I knew it was something serious because of the oma, however I didn’t research it like most people do, because my first thought was how am I going to tell my husband, who is 7000 miles away in Afghanistan, that I have cancer. From Jan 28,2013 to April 2013, I had numerous doctor’s appointments, numerous testing as well as 2 surgeries. My first surgery I had what is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which they put dye in your body and put you in a machine and see what lymph node lights up first and they remove that one to be tested. I also had a wide local excision which they go in and take more tissue out from around the spot. That surgery was Feb 28,2013. At my next doctor’s appointment, I was told that I was Stage 3a and that the lymph node that they took out came back positive for melanoma, I had to have a 2nd surgery, which they remove 3 lymph nodes from my shoulder blade and 11 from under my left arm. That surgery was March 26, 2013. On April 8th,2013 my surgeon told me that those lymph nodes came back clear. At that time, I was considered NED (No Evidence of the Disease). NO, I am not cancer free. Melanoma can come back at anytime and anywhere. I met with my oncologist and talked about other treatments beside just the surgery. Well interferon was the option for me, I went home and researched interferon and talked to my husband through emails and phone calls about what the options was and what he thought. We decided that I would not do the interferon and yes there is many factors involved in this, it is not an easy decision and it is personnel one at that. One of the factors was that if I did interferon, I would have a 20% chance of reoccurrence and without interferon, I had a 30% chance of reoccurrence. I chose to take the 5-year plan of every 3 months going to the dermatologist and alternating between my surgeon and oncologist and getting blood work and chest x-rays done. January 2016, I graduated to every 6 months. January of 2018, I graduated to once a year to see my doctors. Why am I sharing my story, so that you can save the largest organ on your body, your skin. Now 6 years later, I am still NED and will continue to tell my story again and again, because I don’t want someone else to hear those words, you have melanoma.”
Wow I can’t believe how many responses! I will always say how much it helps to hear from others going through skin cancer and their stories. I appreciate you adding your story in there too. There is so much more to skin cancer than the average person realizes (heck even me before this happened). Thank from the bottom of my heart for sharing. I don’t have a FB account so I truly appreciate it.
I wish I could write so eloquently, @moonmomma, but that story was actually from a member on Facebook too. I was so impressed they took so much time and thought to compose it there. I’m so so glad these were helpful to you – we are truly lucky to have folks like you these commenters in our community!! – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team