Skin Cancer & Visiting Your Doctor

Because people who have had melanoma are 900 times more likely than somebody who has never had it to develop it (again), follow-up treatment is essential. Your doctor will examine your skin for any abnormal and potentially pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, as well as check your lymph nodes for any swelling or hardening. The frequency of follow-up exams will depend on the stage of cancer.

For stage I tumors, the usual schedule is to visit your doctor every 6 months for 2 years. If the exams are normal, then you can visit your doctor less often (e.g., once a year).

For stage II tumors, you should visit your doctor every 3–6 months for 3 years, then every 6–12 months for 2 years. If the exams are all normal, then you can visit your doctor less often. Sometimes a doctor may request a chest x-ray or blood test to check for metastasis.

For stage III tumors, you should visit your doctor every 3–6 months for 3 years and then every 4–12 months for 2 years. Chest x-rays and blood tests may be scheduled regularly for these patients.

Watch for Changes in Your Skin and Stay Out of the Sun

People who have had melanoma once are at an increased risk for developing it again. They should watch their skin carefully and notice any unusual marks or moles, especially ones that change in the sun.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 15 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 26 Feb 2015