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Survival

Find out about survival for melanoma skin cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage

There are no UK-wide statistics available for melanoma survival by stage.

Survival statistics are available for each stage of melanoma in one area of England. These figures are for men and women diagnosed between 2002 and 2006.

Stage 1

  • Almost everyone (almost 100%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2

  • Almost 80 out of 100 men (almost 80%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
  • Almost 90 out of 100 women (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 3

  • 50 out of 100 men (50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
  • More than 50 out of 100 women (more than 50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more.

Stage 4

Please bear in mind that the statistics here are based on people treated around 10 years ago. These days there are new biological treatments available for people with stage 4 melanoma. So survival is likely to better than the figures below. Your doctor can tell you more about this.

  • Almost 10 out of 100 men (almost 10%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. 
  • Around 25 out of 100 women (around 25%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival for all stages of melanoma

Generally for men with melanoma in England and Wales:

  • more than 95 out of every 100 men (more than 95%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • almost 90 out of every 100 men (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • almost 90 out of every 100 men (almost 90%) will survive their melanoma for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

Generally for women with melanoma in England and Wales:

  • almost all women (almost 100%) will survive their cancer for a year or more after they are diagnosed with melanoma
  • more than 90 out of every 100 women (more than 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more
  • more than 90 out of every 100 women (more than 90%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how deeply it has grown into the skin and whether it has spread.

Survival is slightly better for women than it is for men. We don't know exactly why this is. It may be because women are more likely to see a doctor about their melanoma at an earlier stage.

Age can affect outlook and younger people have a better prognosis than older people.

Your outlook may also be affected by where the melanoma is in the body.

About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

Many people live much longer than 5 years.

More statistics

For more in-depth information about survival and other statistics for melanoma, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.