What is the life expectancy of someone with metastatic melanoma?

Updated April 03, 2017

Metastatic melanoma indicates that cancer has spread throughout the body. This is the last stage of cancer and a cure is unlikely. Many factors will affect the prognosis.

Determining Prognosis

The five- and 10-year survival rates are a primary prognostic tool. This data represents the number of people with a particular type and stage of cancer still alive after five and 10 years. Many other factors come into play and no one can predict with certainty how long a cancer patient will survive.

Stage 4 Melanoma Prognosis

The American Cancer Society lists the following data based on a study of 40,000 patients treated for melanoma between 1988 and 2001. The five-year survival rate is 18 per cent while the 10-year rate is 14 per cent.

Considerations About Statistics

Survival statistics reflect patients treated many years ago. Recently diagnosed patients might have a better outlook because of advances in treating melanoma.

Other Factors

The American Cancer Society notes several factors that come into play when determining prognosis. Your Stage 4 outlook is better if the cancer has spread to distant areas of the skin and lymph nodes rather than organs. African-Americans have an increased risk compared to whites. Cancers located in the foot, palm or nail bed fare worse than other locations.

Treatment Considerations

Certain treatments for advanced melanoma might prolong survival. The American Cancer Society notes a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs might be beneficial. Discuss options with your doctor. At this point a cure is unlikely.

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About the Author

Kelli Cooper has been a writer since 2009, specializing in health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.