A Young Melanoma Survivor’s Nightmare: Why It Often Comes Back

There is still more evidence proving the shadow of a melanoma diagnosis never really leaves a young person. The “Beast” can and does often rear its ugly head at least once more in a survivors lifetime.

Dermatologists at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, have just released a new study which finds patients who have survived cutaneous melanoma, especially those diagnosed in childhood, adolescent and young adulthood, are five times more likely to develop a secondary primary cancer. It is of special concern within the first year of diagnosis. 

The greatest risk is for infants; those diagnosed with melanoma before they enjoy their first  birthday cake.  The risk declines with maturity through adolescents and teens with the lowest risk among those diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 29.  However it’s important to note these survivors in young adulthood are the most susceptible to developing internal cancers.

One of the researchers, Dr. Yen Luu, M.D. says “while the incidence of primary cutaneous melanoma (CM) in children is declining and the five year survival rate is relatively high (87% – 95%), secondary cancers (SPC’s) occur in over 11% of cases, reducing overall survival outcomes.”

All this supports the need for regular follow-up, self checks and routine dermatological skin exams for melanoma survivors. At the Claire Marie Foundation we believe prevention is the cure. Educate yourself. Know your risks. Engage in sun safe practices and book annual full body skin screenings with a dermatologist. Remember, primary care physicians and pediatricians are not trained to detect melanoma and other skin cancers.  Take care of your skin. Take care of you and be aware. After all, awareness saves lives. 

You can read the full report here:

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