What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Metastatic Melanoma?


Metastatic melanoma indicates that cancer has spread throughout the body. This is the last stage of cancer and a cure is unlikely. Many factors will affect the prognosis.

Determining Prognosis

  • The five- and 10-year survival rates are a primary prognostic tool. This data represents the number of people with a particular type and stage of cancer still alive after five and 10 years. Many other factors come into play and no one can predict with certainty how long a cancer patient will survive.

Stage 4 Melanoma Prognosis

  • The American Cancer Society lists the following data based on a study of 40,000 patients treated for melanoma between 1988 and 2001. The five-year survival rate is 18 percent while the 10-year rate is 14 percent.

Considerations About Statistics

  • Survival statistics reflect patients treated many years ago. Recently diagnosed patients might have a better outlook because of advances in treating melanoma.

Other Factors

  • The American Cancer Society notes several factors that come into play when determining prognosis. Your Stage 4 outlook is better if the cancer has spread to distant areas of the skin and lymph nodes rather than organs. African-Americans have an increased risk compared to whites. Cancers located in the foot, palm or nail bed fare worse than other locations.

Treatment Considerations

  • Certain treatments for advanced melanoma might prolong survival. The American Cancer Society notes a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs might be beneficial. Discuss options with your doctor. At this point a cure is unlikely.

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