Melanoma is a common skin cancer that can result in death if not treated early enough. There are different stages of this cancer and some are more deadly than others. By understanding the different stages anyone can learn more about their skin and what to watch out for. There’s no reason anyone should find out about this skin cancer until it’s too late.
Stage 1. The first stage of melanoma is when there are extremely small tumors in the skin. The size is actually 1 mm or smaller, which is when it’s easiest for doctors to remove them safely. There are two different categories within stage one, including: A and B.
- In stage A the tumors are not affected by an ulcer, but they are affected by an ulcer in stage B. While the tumors are still cancer, this is the optimal time for doctors to find them. The survival rate for individuals who catch their cancer in stage 1 is around 95%.
Stage 2. This is the stage where tumors have grown slightly from how big they were in stage 1. In addition to this, the melanoma is likely to have spread to other areas by the time it reaches the second stage. A, B and C are the three different sub stages for stage 2.
- A is when the tumors are ulcerated and anywhere from 1 to 2 mm. If the tumor has not yet developed an ulcer it could be up to 4mm and still in this stage of the cancer. The survival rate is around 77% for 2A.
- In B, the tumors that are ulcerated are sizes 1 to 2 mm and those that do not have ulcers can be up to 4 mm. 63% is the average survival rate for this particular stage.
- In C there are tumors that have developed ulcers that are larger than 4mm. The survival rate is around 45% for this stage.
Stage 3. The tumors spreading is what starts to happen during this stage. They spread to other areas of the body as well as into the nodes. Doctors will have to use microscopes to examine the skin during this stage to see how far it’s spread. The level of growth will determine which sub stage the cancer is in. Survival rate can be anywhere from 30% to 69% in this stage based on the growth.
Stage 4. Catching melanoma at this stage generally means death for most people, unfortunately. The survival rate is only 7-9% because the tumors grow all over the body and start to attach the lymph nodes. This generally results in cancer cells traveling into the brain, heart, lungs and other critical organs of the body.
As you can see, catching melanoma at the earliest stage is the best bet for survival. This is when doctors can provide effective treatment and even remove the cancer cells without extreme surgery. While survival is possible in the other stages of this cancer, the chances of it happening do reduce. Seeing a dermatologist each year for a skin exam can be a great way to learn about the health of your skin and what chances of developing cancer you have.