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Melanoma

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Survival statistics for melanoma

Survival statistics for melanoma are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because survival statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for melanoma and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

In Canada, a 5-year relative survival statistic is reported for melanoma. The 5-year relative survival for melanoma is 89%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with melanoma are 89% as likely to live 5 years (or more) after diagnosis as people in the general population who do not have cancer.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of melanoma. Generally, the earlier melanoma is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Melanoma is often detected at an early stage.

Melanoma survival
Stage5-year relative survival

0

99%

I

IA

IB

91–95%

95%

91%

II

IIA

IIB

IIC

45–79%

77–79%

63–67%

45%

III

IIIA

IIIB

IIIC

24–70%

63–70%

46–59%

24–29%

IV

10–19%

Questions about survival

People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • a person’s medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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