What is included in the long-term monitoring of oral malignant melanoma?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth Ann Bilodeau, DMD, MD, MSEd; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Diagnosis and subsequent surgical excision of oral melanoma requires lifelong follow-up. Periodic follow-up for oral examination and assessment is necessary to evaluate for recurrence. Healthcare practitioners, including physicians, nurses, and dental personnel must encourage the patient to adopt healthy behaviors.  For the life of the patient, healthcare providers must regularly perform thorough oral examinations and imaging studies to rule out recurrence and to recognize and treat oral disease. Recurrence has been described as long as 11 years after the initial surgery. Early discussions of potential problems with function, prostheses, oral fungal infection, and lesion recurrence may ensure patient compliance. At follow-up visits, dental care, nutritional status, and difficulties with the prosthesis (if necessary) can be addressed. In addition, patient comfort and function can be assessed, and the treatment or the follow-up schedule can be modified.


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