How many people walking around today were diagnosed with melanoma 30 years ago?

This deadly skin cancer is on the rise, but is highly curable when caught at the stage 0 or “in situ” (in place) stage.

Can those diagnosed with melanoma be alive 30 years later?

“Yes, most melanoma patients live more than 30 years,” says Dr. Steven Musick, MD, a board certified dermatologist who runs Musick Dermatology, LLC, in Swansea, IL, which provides state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for all disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

“In fact, about 85% of melanoma patients are cured by simply removing the melanoma surgically before it has spread to other parts of the body,” continues Dr. Musick.

“Early detection is crucial so that the melanoma can be removed before it spreads (metastasizes).”

When this skin cancer is caught early enough, the only treatment is surgical excision.

If it’s deeper as far as depth measured in millimeters, then the standard is to have the patient undergo a chest X-ray to see if the tumor has spread to the lungs.

An MRI will be ordered of the head to see if there are any brain metastases.

The lungs and brain are usually the sites of metastases for melanoma.

What About Patients with Short Survival Rates?

Dr. Musick explains, “In 15% of cases, the melanoma has already metastasized before it was detected and removed.

“The melanoma cancer cells use the veins, arteries and lymph channels to travel to lymph nodes and internal organs.

“These patients require much more evaluation and treatment. The treatment can be surgical and/or medical.

“Recent breakthroughs have led to many people with metastatic melanoma living longer or even being cured.”

Skin Self-Exams

  • Check your moles every month.
  • Include behind the ears, the eyelids, inside the belly button, the butt, the bottoms of your feet and between your toes.
  • If you have dark skin, don’t let your guard down. Dark people have been diagnosed with melanoma.
  • Catching this cancer early will help set you up for living at least another 30 years.
Steven Musick, MD

Steven Musick, MD

Since 2008 Musick Dermatology & Advanced Clinical Spa has been providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for all disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: CDC, Carl Washington, MD, Emory Univ. School of Medicine, Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH