Eye melanoma survival rates
Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person's prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful or may even not want to know them. Whether or not you want to read about the survival statistics below for ocular eye melanoma is up to you.
The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).
In order to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with this cancer. Five-year relative survival rates, such as the numbers below, assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. This is a more accurate way to describe the prognosis (outlook) for patients with a particular type and stage of cancer.
Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person's case. Other factors may affect a person's outlook, such as the type of cells in the tumor (spindle or epithelioid), as well as the patient's age and general health. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.
The numbers below come from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, and are based on about 1,500 patients who were diagnosed with melanoma of the eye between 1988 and 2001.
Overall, about 3 out of 4 people with eye melanoma survive for at least 5 years. Survival rates tend to be better for earlier than for later-stage cancers, but accurate survival rates for eye melanomas based on a specific stage are hard to determine because these cancers are fairly rare.
In patients whose cancer is confined to the eye, the 5-year survival rate is about 80%. This is in stark contrast to melanomas that have spread to distant parts of the body, where the 5-year survival rate is about 15%.
Last Medical Review: 06/27/2011
Last Revised: 01/18/2013