What is included in the long-term monitoring of patients with cutaneous melanoma?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Susan M Swetter, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Patients should be monitored regularly after a diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma, particularly in the setting of thicker tumors, because most metastases occur in the first 1-3 years after treatment of the primary tumor. Annual skin examinations are recommended for life because an estimated 4-8% of patients with a history of melanoma develop new primary melanoma, generally within the first 3-5 years following diagnosis. [141] The risk of new primary melanoma increases in the setting of increased nevus count; multiple clinical atypical/dysplastic nevi; family history of melanoma; fair skin/sun sensitivity; prior in situ, nodular, and lentigo maligna melanoma; and male sex. [142] Additionally, individual patient risk factors should be taken into account in the determining the frequency of dermatologic surveillance.

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