Melanoma Staging

Helps Determine The Stage Of The Skin Cancer

By: - Skin Cancer - February 17, 2011
melanoma staging

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It is like any other disease that is first diagnosed and then the seriousness of the disease is determined. This process is called melanoma staging. A micrometer is the device that is used for melanoma staging.. The measurement of a melanoma requires a technique called Breslow measurement.

A micrometer is similar to a ruler. A general rule is that a melanoma stands a better prognosis if it is thinner. . The potential for spreading is reduced if the thickness of the melanoma is less than 1mm deep. If the melanoma is thicker the potential for it to spread to other parts of the body is increased.
Another form of measurement of tumor growth is called the mitotic rate. In order to determine this rate, the pathologist finds out the number of cells that are dividing in a particular sample of melanoma tissue. The higher this rate is, the greater chance that the cancer cells will multiply and spread to other parts of the body.

The Melanoma Prognosis is worse If the doctor determines that the melanoma cells are in the form of ulcer, the prognosis is worse. If the cells do not have this outer covering then the situation is more serious. There are a total of 12 values of melanoma staging. Most of the stages are based on the thickness of the melanoma and where or not it is ulcerated.

The primary stage of Melanoma is TX and T0 where the TX stage indicates that the tumor cannot be assessed and the T0 stage indicates that there is no evidence of a primary tumor. The Tis stage means that the Melanoma remains in the epidermis.

The other stages of Melanoma are the N category and the M category. The N category indicates whether and how much the melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes..
The M category of staging is used to determine the extent of metastases to the nearby skin, lungs and other organs of the body. is staged as M0, Mla, Mlb, and Mlc. The melanoma prognosis staging is grouped using the TNM technique. So each every case is measured using all the 3 above categories of staging like T, N and M combined.

As this can be confusing at times this group staging is denoted using roman numerals from Stage 0 to IV. And the patients having cancer in lower stage stand more chances of survival and can be cured.