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Melanoma behaves differently in each person, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. People with melanoma should talk to their doctor about a follow-up plan that suits their individual situation. Follow-up care is often shared among the dermatologist, surgeon, cancer specialists (oncologists) and family doctor. Follow-up care with a dermatologist is very important as there is an 8% lifetime risk of having another primary melanoma.
After treatment has ended, new signs and symptoms that don’t go away should be reported to the doctor without waiting for the next scheduled appointment. These may include:
Melanoma can recur even after 10 years, so life-long follow up is usually recommended.
Follow-up after melanoma treatment varies. It can be different depending on the stage of melanoma and a person’s family history.
During a follow-up visit, the doctor usually asks questions about the side effects of treatment and how the person is coping. The doctor may do a complete physical examination, including:
Tests may be ordered as part of follow-up or if the doctor suspects the cancer has come back (has recurred).
If a recurrence is found during follow-up, the oncology team will assess the person with cancer to determine the best treatment options.