Melanoma is a highly malignant type of skin cancer, identified by stages. A stage describes the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
The stage is based on the thickness of the tumour, the mitotic rate, whether it is ulcerated (cracked, open), and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs in the body. Accurate Staging of the disease may help determine your prognosis and course of treatment.
Melanoma is staged according to the TNM system and is based on the thickness of the tumour (T), whether the cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes (N), and whether the cancer has spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body (M)
TNM combinations correspond to stages ranging from Stage 0 to IV
- Stage 0
Cancer has not spread beyond borders
- Stages I, II, III
Higher numbers mean more extensive disease: i.e., larger tumour size and/or spread of the cancer beyond the skin to lymph nodes
- Stage IV
Cancer has spread (metastasised) to other organs