Q:

What is the prognosis when melanoma comes back in the lungs?

A:

Quick Answer

The prognosis when melanoma comes back in the lungs is consistent with that of Stage 4 melanoma, reports the American Cancer Society. Five- and ten-year survival rates are 15 to 20 percent and 10 to 15 percent respectively.

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Full Answer

The return of cancer in internal organs is an example of metastases. Metastases in internal organs may be removed by surgery in some instances. When surgery is not viable, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation and targeted therapy are options. Prognoses are less favorable among individuals over 70 years of age.

Survival rates are estimates based upon the outcomes of significant quantities of people who have had the same disease. In particular, survival rates as reported by the American Cancer Society reflect an American Joint Committee on Cancer Melanoma Staging Database compiled in 2008.

The database also includes people diagnosed with melanoma who later died of some other cause, such as coronary artery disease, so the survival rate percentages might be higher than the database suggests. This statistical data cannot definitively predict survival rates for every single case. Too many related factors affect prognoses, such as the cancer's response to treatment and how the cancer cells change genetically.

Generally, the attending physician in each Stage 4 melanoma case delivers a prognoses based upon his personal knowledge of the patient, his medical history and treatment.

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