Recurrence rate stage 1A melanoma

Posted By
6/9/2015 1:11pm
Replies: 8

I wonder what is the recurrence rate for a stage 1a melanoma. I have read that the recurrence in thin melanoma is low and the chances of spread local, regional and distance is low, but how low is it? Exist any statistics in thin melanomas grouped by breslow depth ranges or clark level? How  low risk is with a Breslow 0.63 mm, clark III mitosis < 1 no ulceration and primary on top trunk ? What are the chances of a recurrence? I have read some people with stage 1 turns to stage 3 or 4 some years after diagnosis.



Stage 1A became a more exclusive club at the end of 2010.  That's when the last staging criteria went into effect and mitosis became the differentiator for stage 1A/1B.  Prior to that, mitosis was not used and Stage 1A included a much wider audience (myself included).  Therefore, there are NO LONG TERM statistics for where you are now, because that small grouping has only been defined for 5 years.  I was diagnosed stage 1A in 1992, but I had a mitosis of 1.  I happen to know that the staging has changed and upgraded myself to stage 1B.  Many people who were diagnosed stage 1A prior to 2010 do not know that and actually would be considered stage 1B now.  Stage 1A is supposed to have somewhere near a 97% survival rate.  No guarantees, but high likelihood of a good outcome.  Remember, the internet is where you will see those 3% of exceptions (or whatever the number is).  The others who do not recur move on and live life.  It's the rare ones who have problems that come back to share their stories and make the newly diagnosed think EVERYONE recurs.  You just don't see the vast majority who don't - they have no reason to post.

Anonymous - (6/9/2015 - 4:41pm)

Hi Janner thanks for your comment I really appreciate it! What makes the 3% to recur? What are the risk factor in the stage 1a group? The ones with deeper depth have more chances to recur or with higher clark level or it doesnt matter? Thanks again!

Sometimes, there are no answers.  From depth to a cell left behind, who knows.  Live life and don't worry about the things you can't change.

Anonymous - (6/10/2015 - 5:35am)

Good point! Thank you Janner!

Anonymous - (6/10/2015 - 9:45am)

Just one last question Janner. Why survival rate drops in all stages with time? Perhaps is a silly question, but do not suppose to get a better outcome after some time without any recurrence?

Thanks again!


It's the nature of statistics.  Say you have 100 people.  In the first X years, 8 die.  Survival rate is 92%.  Over the next X years, 4 more people die.  Survival rate is now 88%.  Less people have died in the second time period than the first.  But statistics use the ORIGINAL population numbers of 100, so rates will always fall even if only 1 person dies in the second period.  So in actuality, the second time period does have better survival numbers - 4/100 versus 8/100.  But survival curves always include the entire population.

Anonymous - (6/10/2015 - 12:24pm)

Mmmm... understood! You are right, forgive my statistics ignorance, I was really confused, I just did not understand why people says that after 5 years NED the chances of a recurrence drop dramatically, and when I read the survival rate graphics just get more confused! But now I understand!

Thanks again Janner!!!


I just wanted to note that this person asked about the RECURRENCE rate. The 97% that you quoted is the SURVIVAL RATE, not recurrence rate. 97% of people diagnosed with stage 1A melanoma will still be alive after 5 years -- but this doesn't mean they will necessarily be disease-free, it just means that 97% won't have died from their melanoma after 5 years.

I know the combined recurrence rate for stage I and II is 15%, but I don't know what it is specifically for stage IA or 1B.