Risk of further melanomas: follow-up
Most people treated for early (localised) melanoma do not have any further trouble with the disease. However if the melanoma spreads to other parts of your body, you will need further treatment.
Having one melanoma puts you at more than twice the risk of getting another melanoma as an average person of your age. Your doctor will recommend regular skin checks. Skin tests will become less frequent if you have no further problems and you protect your skin from the sun.
Another important part of your regular follow-up will be checking your lymph nodes to see if the cancer has come back or spread.
You should check your skin frequently and have any suspicious or changing spots on your skin checked promptly by your doctor.
Protecting your skin
After treatment for melanoma it is important to limit your sun exposure. Encourage family members to help reduce their risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers by limiting their exposure to the sun when the UV radiation level is 3 and above.
When the UV radiation level reaches 3 and above it is strong enough to cause skin damage so skin protection is recommended. Protecting the skin from overexposure to UV radiation should include the following 5 SunSmart strategies, used in combination, for maximum protection -
- Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible
- Slop on a SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply it every 2 hours, or more regularly if involved in water activities or perspiring
- Slap on a shady hat that provides plenty of protection to the face, neck and ears. Broad brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style hats are recommended
- Seek shade when you are outdoors
Slide on wraparound sunglasses that fit close to your face to protect the eyes. Look for EPF 10 on the label for maximum UV protection.
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