Multiple melanoma, like all melanoma, can be life-threatening. However, patients with multiple primary melanoma may have a slightly better prognosis than patients with only one melanoma, according to a paper published in The BMJ.
The better prognosis applies to patients who have been diagnosed with melanoma in the past, reports The BMJ. These patients have a significantly higher risk of developing new melanomas, but their chances of successful treatment also increase. The tumors developed sequentially in most patients studied, but some had multiple melanomas at the same time.
The prognosis for melanoma varies depending on the stage, according to the American Cancer Society. Melanoma that is caught and treated quickly has a higher survival rate than more advanced cases that have spread to other parts of the body. Stage 1A, the earliest stage, has a five-year survival rate of 97 percent and a 10-year survival rate of 95 percent. Stage 4, the most advanced stage, has a five-year survival rate of 15 to 20 percent and a 10-year rate of 10 to 15 percent. All of these numbers may include some people who died of other causes. The deadliness of melanoma may also be affected by other factors in some patients. For example, African-American patients tend to be diagnosed at lower rates but are more likely to die from it if they do get it. Other conditions, such as HIV infection, can also increase the danger.