Stages of melanoma diagnosis

Staging melanoma is the process used to describe the extent of the disease. The doctor will take into account the tumor thickness and depth and whether the melanoma cells have spread, or metastasized, to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Staging helps the melanoma treatment team develop an appropriate treatment plan and determine the prognosis (outlook).

Melanoma Stage
Description
Treatment Option
0 The tumor is confined to epidermis and has not entered the dermis, a deeper layer of the skin. This stage of melanoma is also called melanoma in situ. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Usually no further treatment is necessary; however, continued skin examination to evaluate for a new melanoma or other skin cancer will continue.
IA The tumor is less than 1 millimeter thick. The outer layer of skin does not look cracked or scraped (ulcerated). It has not spread to any lymph nodes or other organs. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Usually no further treatment is necessary.
IB The tumor is either less than 1 millimeter thick and ulcerated, or 1–2 millimeters thick and not ulcerated. It has not spread to any lymph nodes or other organs. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Usually no further treatment is necessary.
IIA The tumor is either 1–2 millimeters thick and ulcerated, or 2–4 millimeters thick and not ulcerated. It has not spread to any lymph nodes or other organs. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Usually no further treatment is necessary.
IIB The tumor is either 2–4 millimeters thick and ulcerated, or more than 4 millimeters thick and not ulcerated. It has not spread to any lymph nodes or other organs. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Additional treatment(s), may be recommended.
IIC The tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick and is ulcerated. These are aggressive tumors that are more likely to spread. The tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed surgically. Additional treatment(s) may be recommended.

IIIA

IIIB

IIIC

The tumor may be of any thickness. It may or may not be ulcerated. The cancer cells have spread either to a few nearby lymph nodes, or to some tissue just outside the tumor but not to the lymph nodes. The tumor and lymph nodes that have cancer cells are removed surgically. Additional treatment(s), like immunotherapy, targeted therapy or clinical trials may be recommended.