Stage 4 Melanoma

Stage IV Melanoma Illustration

Stage IV melanoma has metastasized (spread) to other places throughout the body, such as the brain, lungs, liver, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Melanoma may also have spread to distant points in the skin.

Stage IV melanoma is considered distant metastatic or advanced melanoma. 

About Melanoma Staging:

Melanoma staging is based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system. The system assigns a stage based on tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) scores as well as additional prognostic factors. The goal is that melanomas of the same stage will have similar characteristics, treatment options, and outcomes. Disease staging occurs after you receive your melanoma diagnosis. Learn more about melanoma staging.

Treatment for Stage IV Melanoma:

Treatment options for Stage IV melanoma have expanded greatly in the last 10 years and frequently combine surgery with immunotherapy or targeted therapy. Learn more about available melanoma treatment options

Clinical Trials for Stage IV Melanoma:

Clinical trials offer patients access to treatment approaches that may prove more beneficial than those approved by the FDA currently. In addition, clinical trials drive our understanding of melanoma forward, improving future treatment options for all patients. Given the very rapid development of new agents and combinations, patients and their physicians are encouraged highly to consider treatment in a clinical trial for initial treatment and at the time of disease progression. Learn more about melanoma clinical trials.

Prognosis for Stage IV Melanoma:

Stage IV melanoma is difficult to cure as it has already spread to other parts of the body. However, a growing number of people respond well to treatment, achieve No Evidence of Disease (NED), and survive for many years. Researchers are also working every day to improve the durability of response and increase the number of people who benefit from treatment. The 5-year survival rate as of 2018 for distant metastatic (Stage IV) melanoma is 22.5%. Learn more about how melanoma survival rates are calculated. 

Prognostic Testing for Melanoma:

Prognostic tests can be used to estimate the severity of your melanoma and help inform your treatment-decision making. This is an extremely active area of research and includes a variety of institution-specific tests as well as commercially available tests used across multiple institutions. Learn more about prognostic tests for advanced melanoma.

Survivorship Care for Stage IV Melanoma:

After achieving No Evidence of Disease (NED) following treatment for Stage IV melanoma, you should conduct monthly self exams of your skin and lymph nodes and have an annual, full-body skin exam performed by a trained dermatologist for the rest of your life. You should also undergo a physical exam by your doctor every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years, then 3 to 12 months for the next 3 years, and then annually as needed. Imaging tests may be ordered every 3 to 12 months or as needed to monitor for recurrence.

Want to Connect with the Melanoma Community? If you've been recently diagnosed with melanoma, you are never alone. The Melanoma > Exchange is a free online melanoma treatment and research focused discussion group and support community. Through the Melanoma > Exchange, anyone touched by Melanoma can find support, ask questions, and build community among people who share a similar experience. Join the Community.

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