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What is the prognosis for melanoma in the lymph nodes?

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Five-year survival rates for patients with melanoma that has spread to lymph nodes range from 40 to 78 percent, and 10-year rates are 24 to 68 percent, says the American Cancer Society. However, there is no single, quantifiable prognosis for melanoma in the lymph nodes. Prognosis is typically viewed in the context of survival rates, but these rates do not predict what will happen to an individual.

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Melanoma that has spread to lymph nodes is referred to as Stage III, explains the American Cancer Society. Doctors use a complex system, called the TNM system, to summarize how far a melanoma has spread. The progression is measured in four stages, and the stage is very important in determining a prognosis and planning treatment. Each stage is further subdivided, and there are different survival rates for each category.

Survival rates are statistical measurements of large groups of people, and they vary according to what stage the cancer is in, according to the American Cancer Society. Rates are recorded for people who survive for a minimum of five years and 10 years, so subsequent improvements in medical procedures and treatments during those periods are not reflected in the numbers. Survival rates include people diagnosed with melanoma who later die due to other causes. A prognosis for any stage of melanoma must take into account the patient's age, race and other factors such as additional medical conditions.

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