Stages of melanoma skin cancer


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How is melanoma diagnosed?

There are three different ways of discovering that you or someone you know has skin cancer they are, self check, physical examination and biopsy.

Self Check: Stand in front of a full sized mirror and check yourself over for different lumps and bumps. If you have more than fifty moles or have any large mole over 6 millimeters you should see a doctor for a physical examination.

Physical Examination: A doctor will look you over to see for any unusual bumps. He or she has a better trained eye for finding cancerous cells and will know if a biopsy is needed.

Biopsy: Is the removal of skin for examination.

The names of the stages are not medical terms. They are terms that describe what is happening in the different stages which are in fact medical terms. For example Stage Zero and its terms are all medical but the word 'abnormal cells' is just a description.

Stages of melanoma skin cancer

Stage Zero: Abnormal Cells
The zeroth stage of melanoma skin cancer is not cancer yet. It is simply abnormal cells growth, found only in the outer layer of skin. This outer layer of abnormal cells have not invaded into deeper tissue. The cells are simply abnormal and on top of the skin.

Stage One: Cancer
The first stage of cancer is found in the outer layer of the skin and/or the upper part of the inner layer of skin. The cancer in the outer layer of the skin or the inner part of the skin has not spread to nearby lymph nodes. Also the cancerous tumor is still small. The size of the tumor is less than 1.5 millimeters (1/16 of an inch) thick.

Stage Two: Growth
The second stage is growth. The tumor has increased in size and now is 1.5 millimeters to 4 millimeters (less than 1/6 of an inch) thick. The cancer has spread to the lower part of the inner layer of skin (dermis). The cancer however has not spread into the tissue below the skin or into nearby lymph nodes.

Stage Three: Expansion
The third stage is expansion. The third stage has been reached when any of the following may be evident:
The cancerous tumor has grown and now is more than 4 millimeters (approximately 1/6 of an inch) thick. Or The cancerous tumor has spread to the body tissue below the skin. Or there are additional tumor growths within one inch of the original tumor. These additional growths outside of the original tumor is known as satellite tumors. Or the cancerous tumor has spread to nearby lymph nodes or there are additional tumor growths known as satellite tumors, between the original tumor and the lymph nodes in the area.

Stages of melanoma skin cancer: Recurrent
The tumor has spread to other organs, or to lymph nodes, far away from the original tumor.

See Also

Malignant melanoma skin cancer
What is melanoma skin cancer
Alternative medicine
Causes and risk factors
Tests diagnosis
Nonmelanoma skin cancer
Melenoma skin cancer
Melinoma skin cancer
Non melanoma skin cancer

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