It’s normal to worry about what melanoma will mean for you and your family. You may wonder, “What are my chances of being cured?” and “How long will I live?” The answers to these questions are what you may hear healthcare experts call your prognosis. Your prognosis includes your chances of these things.
Dying from the melanoma
Having the melanoma come back, called recurrence
To make your prognosis, your doctor will look at these factors.
The typical outcome for people with melanoma. These are called melanoma statistics.
Your doctor’s experiences with other people who have melanoma.
Your own case, including the stage of your melanoma, your age, and general health.
Ask your doctor to help you understand what the statistics may mean for you. Keep in mind that even your doctor cannot tell you exactly what to expect. One reason is because your prognosis may change over time. It may change if the cancer progresses or if treatment is successful.
Some people find that learning about their prognosis reduces their fears. Some use this information to help them make decisions about tests or treatments. Others may not want to know because the prognosis may be confusing or scary. How much information to accept and how to deal with it is a personal choice. It’s your choice.
It makes some sense to plan for the worst when you’re facing a disease that can be deadly. Still, you should not allow statistics or a prognosis to dictate your future. People have outlived their doctors’ predictions. Your prognosis is not etched in stone. Try to focus your thoughts on the people who have survived melanoma. You may be one of them.