Follow-up care after lymph node removal

After the melanoma and lymph nodes have been removed, you’ll have regular check-ups. Your specialist will let you know how often these will be. You’ll be shown how to examine your skin and what to look out for. This will help you spot any signs of the original melanoma coming back, or another melanoma developing, as early as possible.

After you’ve had a melanoma, you’re at more risk of developing another primary melanoma. So you’ll also be given advice on protecting your skin from the sun.

At the clinic

Your doctor or specialist nurse will examine your scar and the surrounding area and will check other areas of your body for moles. Some people may have photographs of their skin taken and some of their moles measured. These are ways of comparing and keeping a check on any changes that may develop. During your clinic appointment, your doctor or specialist nurse may also examine lymph nodes elsewhere in your body.

What to look for

You’ll need to continue checking your skin. You may also be asked to check other lymph nodes after your treatment. Follow your specialist’s advice about what to look and feel for, and make sure you examine yourself at least once a month. The ABCDE checklist can also give you an idea of what to look for. If you notice anything that concerns you, let your specialist team at the hospital know.

After lymph node removal for melanoma

For many people, getting back to normal after surgery is straightforward. For others it may be more complicated, depending on how the surgery has affected them, or if they’re having other treatment. In time, and with the right support, people often find that they can adjust to any changes.

Lymphoedema can sometimes happen after surgery on the lymph nodes. There are ways to reduce your chances of getting it.

Skincare in the sun

After treatment for melanoma, it’s very important to avoid exposing your skin to strong sunlight.

Protecting yourself from the sun doesn’t mean that you can no longer enjoy sunshine or have holidays in sunny countries. But you’ll need to take sensible precautions, which will in time become part of your normal routine.

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