Time between initial diagnosis and metastasis

Posted By
5/24/2012 10:54pm
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Replies: 6

Hello, my name is Heather and I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 1995 at the age of 22. I have been very fortunate and have had no metastasis thus far. On my last CT of the chest two 3mm pulmonary nodules were found.  Upon re-evaluation of my scans the one was present on the previous years scan and showed no change....a good thing. I go next month for a follow up CT .  I am hopeful that this will turn out to be nothing, but as you all know it is scary. Until recently, I thought I was safe from metastasis since it had been so long(naive I guess).  After this most recent CT's results, I began to research and came across some people with very long gaps between initial diagnosis and metastasis. Just wondering if this is common? Thanks! Heather

Hi Heather,   were you ever told the size of primary tumor? Location?  Radiation, enucleation?  I am curious due to the length of time since your diagnosis, thank you and take care.

I do not recall the size, but it was not too big. I did have the radiation plaque followed up with laser therapy. It was choroidal occular melanoma. 

Hi Heather


The first peak of metastases is at 2.5 years post diagnosis

then 7 years

then 17 years

then a few after 20


It is notorious for lying dormant for a long time. As each cohort comes the numbers involved are smaller

about 25-30 %  get mets 2.5 years from diagnosis

another 20 % or so at 7  then a few 17 and even fewer later.


These are mean tiimes so some may have mets at diagnosis and some a 3 years etc


The outcome is meant to be much better for those who get it in their lungs first

Thank you for the information. Hoping not to fall into one of those statistics.
:-) Heather

Hi Heather,

NEVER stop looking for mets.  My OM metastasized 22 years after initial onset in eye.

Also, I had nodules in my lungs for ages, which did not grow.  Then later I got the real thing, but only after liver mets.

Anyway, I'm still here and feeling OK.

I wish you much good luck, and continued NED status.