Melanoma

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Melanoma Stages

Staging is the process of finding out how far cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This is very important because your treatment and prognosis (the outlook for your recovery) depend in large part on the stage of your cancer. When melanoma is diagnosed at an early stage, it is more likely to be cured.

Stage 0

The cancer is found only in the epidermis (the topmost, outer layer of your skin). This is called carcinoma “in situ.”


Stage I

Stage I is divided into IA and IB.

Stage IA

  • The tumor is in the epidermis and upper layer of the dermis.
  • It is not more than 1 millimeter (less than 1/16 of an inch thick).
  • There is no ulceration.

Stage IB

  • The tumor is not more than 1 millimeter thick.
  • It has an ulceration or mitotic activity.
  • It may have spread into the dermis or tissue below the skin.
OR
  • The tumor is 1 to 2 millimeters (more than 1/16 inch) thick.

Stage II

Stage II is divided into IIA, IIB, and IIC.

Stage IIA

  • The tumor is 1 to 2 millimeters thick.
  • It has an ulceration.
OR
  • The tumor is 2 to 4 millimeters thick.
  • It has no ulcerations.

Stage IIB

  • The tumor is 2 to 4 millimeters thick.
  • It has an ulceration.
OR
  • The tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick.
  • It has no ulceration.

Stage IIC

  • The tumor is 4 millimeters thick.
  • It has an ulceration.

Stage III

The tumor may be any thickness, without any ulceration, and it may have spread to one or more nearby lymph nodes. Stage III includes IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.

Stage IIIA

  • The cancer has spread to as many as three nearby lymph nodes.
  • It can only be seen with a microscope.

Stage IIIB

  • The cancer has spread to as many as three lymph nodes.
  • It may not be visible without a microscope.
OR
  • The cancer has satellite tumors, but it has not spread to the lymph notes.

Stage IIIC

  • The cancer has spread to as many as four or more lymph nodes.
  • It can be seen without a microscope.
OR
  • The cancer has lymph nodes that may not be moveable.
OR
  • The satellite tumors may have spread to lymph nodes.

Stage IV

The cancer has spread to other organs or to lymph nodes far away from the original tumor site.