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Survival statistics for malignant melanoma

Men and women discussing melanoma skin cancer

Survival statistics for malignant melanoma. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Melanoma statistics and outlook

Outlook means your chances of getting better. Your doctor may call this your prognosis. With melanoma, the likely outcome depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed (the stage). If melanoma is diagnosed early, the survival statistics are very good.

Below we have quite detailed information about the likely outcome of different stages of melanoma. The statistics are intended as a general guide only. For the more complete picture in your case, you need to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wants to read this type of information. Remember you can skip this page if you don't want to read it, you can always come back to it.

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your outlook.

 

CR PDF Icon View and print the quick guides for treating early, medium or advanced melanoma.

 

Melanoma survival

Find out about melanoma survival.

People ask us for this information but not everyone with cancer wants to read it. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment, you can always come back to it later.

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

No one can tell you exactly how long you’ll live with melanoma. It depends on your individual situation and treatment. No two patients are exactly alike and response to treatment also varies from one person to another.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). Or you can talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9 to 5, 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 whereabouts 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.

The statistics on this page are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.

 

Clinical trials

Research evidence shows that taking part in clinical trials may improve outlook. No one is completely sure why this is. It is probably partly to do with your doctors and nurses monitoring you more closely if you are in a trial. For example, you may have more scans and blood tests. There is more information in the trials and research section and there you can search our clinical trials database for trials recruiting for melanoma. 

 

More statistics

Read more about understanding statistics in cancer research and incidence, mortality and survival statistics.

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

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Updated: 14 November 2014