What is included in long-term monitoring following treatment of melanoma?

Updated: Jun 28, 2021
  • Author: Jonathan B Heistein, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Close follow-up care is essential to monitor for new primary lesions, recurrence, or metastases. History and physical examination are the cornerstones, with further testing (eg, chest radiography, blood chemistries) if suggestive findings are encountered. Most practitioners observe patients every 3-6 months initially and then eventually decrease the frequency, although no consensus exists. Physicians observe patients with thicker tumors more frequently than patients with thinner lesions. Follow-up care with a dermatologist is strongly recommended. Educate patients on self-examination for detection of new or recurrent lesions and for recognition of the signs and symptoms of metastatic disease because the risk of developing a second melanoma or having recurrence is well recognized.

For excellent patient education resources, visit the Cancer Center. Also, see the patient education articles Skin Cancer, Skin Biopsy, and Mole Removal.


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