What is included in long-term monitoring of choroidal melanoma?

Updated: Dec 12, 2018
  • Author: Enrique Garcia-Valenzuela, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Irrespective of the treatment modality chosen, patients with choroidal melanomas need to be observed carefully and for many years. This is particularly true for small tumors, when the diagnosis is not established clearly. Close observation and measurement of the dimensions of the tumors with any of the diagnostic tools mentioned earlier is critical.

Repeat examinations usually are performed about every 3 months initially, and if no changes are seen, follow-up care is performed every 6 months. If growth of the lesion is detected, consider further treatment. Choroidal melanomas may show size regression starting several months after being treated with external beam irradiation or plaque brachytherapy. The goal of successful treatment is not necessarily reduction in size but long-term arrest of the tumor’s growth.

Repeat examinations and imaging tests are performed after all treatment modalities because of the possibility of intraocular or extraocular tumor recurrence. Follow-up care in patients with treated choroidal melanomas should include thorough physical examinations, liver function tests, and imaging of lungs, repeated about every 6-12 months. Early detection of distant metastases may affect management and survival.


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