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Melanoma skin cancer staging

After a diagnosis of malignant melanoma skin cancer a doctor or cancerspecialist will give an assessment of the outlook for the patient. This prognosis will usually depend on how far the cancer has grown into the skin or the thickness of the melanoma. It also depends on whether it has spread to a wider area.

This assessment is called staging of the skin cancer. Here's how the stages are described by Cancer Research UK:

Stage 0 (in situ melanoma)

This means the melanoma cells are only in the top surface layer of skin cells (the epidermis) and have not started to spread into deeper layers.

Stage 1A

The melanoma is less than 1mm thick. The covering layer of skin over the tumour is not broken - it is not ulcerated. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 1B

The melanoma is less than 1mm thick and the skin is broken (ulcerated). Or it is between 1 and 2mm and is not ulcerated. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 2A

The melanoma is between 1 and 2 mm thick and is ulcerated. Or it is between 2 and 4mm and is not ulcerated. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 2B

The melanoma is between 2 and 4mm thick and is ulcerated. Or it is thicker than 4mm and is not ulcerated. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 2C

The melanoma is thicker than 4mm and is ulcerated. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 3A

The melanoma has spread into up to 3 lymph nodes near the primary tumour. But the nodes are not enlarged and the cells can only be seen under a microscope. The melanoma is not ulcerated and has not spread to other areas of the body.

Stage 3B

The melanoma is ulcerated and has spread to between 1 and 3 lymph nodes nearby but the nodes are not enlarged and the cells can only be seen under a microscope
OR
The melanoma is not ulcerated and it has spread to between 1 and 3 lymph nodes nearby and the lymph nodes are enlarged
OR
The melanoma is not ulcerated, has spread to small areas of skin or lymphatic channels, but nearby lymph nodes do not contain melanoma cells.

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