Melanomas are observed by the general practitioner to determine how they currently affect the health of the wearer. This can result in, among other things that people with melanoma are in further stages and that certain medicines and medicines are prescribed on the basis of this stage. GPs must therefore always obtain clarity about the shape of the melanomas and their growth, so that the stage can be assessed in the right way.

When determining the right stage, it is essential for the general practitioner to pay attention to a number of factors. These factors include determining the thickness of the tumor, which is also described as the Breslow thickness. In doing so, the GP always looks at whether there is cell division within the tumor, because this provides a clear indication of the extent to which the melanoma has developed. Another factor is metastasis in lymph nodes, which often means that the melanomas have reached a further stage and that a specific drug has to be used on this basis. A final factor is the metastasis of tumors in other areas of the body, including the organs.

The Stages of Melanoma

Within melanomas we speak of 5 different stages. The higher the stage, the more acute the care needed to avoid further spreading and to remove the tumors.

Stage 0 at Melanomas

In stage 0 there is only talk of out-of-the-box melanoma, which has not yet been able to establish subcutaneously. This means, among other things, that the tumors have not spread in the body and that there is therefore no question of metastasis in other organs or lymph nodes.

Stage 1 in Melanoma

Within stage 1 is spoken of 1A (IA) and 1B (IB):

  • IA stands for a tumor thickness of less than 1 millimeter without ulceration. There is also no cell division under the skin of the patient.
  • IB stands for a tumor thickness of 1 millimeter with ulceration. There are also cell divisions here. If there is no question of ulceration, but the thickness of the tumor is 1 to 2 millimeters, then we still speak of stage IB.

Within stage 1 there is no metastasis to the lymph nodes.

Stage 2 at Melanoma

At stage 2 we speak of 3 different scenarios: 2A (IIA), 2B (IIB) and 2C (IIC):

  • IIA: The thickness of the tumor has reached 1 to 2 millimeters and there is ulceration or the thickness of the tumor has reached 2 to 4 millimeters and there is no ulceration.
  • IIB: The thickness of the tumor has reached 2 to 4 millimeters and there is ulceration. Or the thickness of the tumor has reached more than 4 millimeters and there is no ulcer.
  • IIC: The thickness of the tumor has reached 4 millimeters and there is ulceration. In stage 2, the tumor has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage 3 at Melanoma

At this stage, the tumor has now spread to the lymph nodes, which in most cases also involve ulceration and a tumor thickness of more than 4 millimeters. However, this is not the case in all situations. It is also possible that the tumor has spread and that there is no ulceration or the tumor thickness is not thicker than 4 millimeters.

Stage 3 also includes satellite metastases and in-transit metastases.

Stage 4 at Melanoma

The regional lymph nodes are now affected by the metastasis at stage 4 melanoma and there is also a metastasis outside the regional lymph nodes. This also includes the spread to other parts of the skin.

If the metastases have now also affected the organs then the patient also falls under stage 4. An expansion to organs has major consequences for the body, so that certain drugs are used to prevent further metastasis and to decrease the current metastasis.

Melanoma at the GP

In case of doubt, always go to the doctor, or visit a specialist because he can start the right examinations into the development of the melanoma and the further metastasis. This way it is easy to prevent that the metastasis will have further consequences for the body.

In the early stage, cancer always have the best prognoses, effective treatment is available for even metastatic, or widespread, skin cancers. If you are suffering from melanoma, we prefer you to consult with experts at Sheba Medical Center. Sheba is a dedicated medical center where you can get the absolute latest in melanoma treatment.

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