Stage 3 Melanoma
Stage 3 Melanoma - A Time For Concern
Out of all the stages of melanoma, stage 3 melanoma means that the cancer has progressed in a life threatening way. Melanoma is the most serious type of cancer that affects the skin. It mainly occurs when a person spends too much time in direct sunlight or has used tanning beds for a long period of time. Over exposure to the sun can cause a change in the skin cells making them abnormal. These abnormal cells grow quickly and start to damage the surrounding tissues. If stage 3 melanoma presents itself, the cancer has become serious.
You can usually detect the start of melanoma if you notice a change in a mole and birthmark on your skin. Unusual moles are not necessarily skin cancer and they can have different shapes and consistencies. But if they start to grow and are lumpy or scaly, you might have a problem. Melanoma and skin cancers can run in your family. So if you have these symptoms and a history of skin cancer in your family, it is a good idea to see a doctor. If you have many moles on your body, this is usually a clear indication that you can be affected by a skin cancer sometime in your life. In women these moles usually form on the legs, while men have more located on their upper backs.
There are 4 stages of melanoma. Each stage classifies the degree of damage done by the melanoma. With stage 1 melanoma, moles or tumors are smaller and have to be measured for thickness. There are 2 sub categories for stage 1 melanoma. Stage 1a will not show any signs of ulceration. Stage 1b will show ulceration.
Stage 2 melanoma has 3 categories that also address the thickness of the tumor and the size. Stage 2a measures thickness and it has ulceration, stage 2 has a sub category that also measures thickness with ulceration and stage 2b measure the thickness of the biggest kind of tumor, as well has ulcerations.
Stage 3 melanoma means that the cancer is starting to spread to the lymph nodes that are close to the primary tumor. The cancer has metastasized or spread to a lymph node more than an inch away from the tumor. Stage 3 melanoma is a serious condition but it has not yet spread to any other areas of the body, excluding the lymph nodes.
With stage 4 melanoma the cancer has spread to the distance lymph glands. It may have also spread to the internal organs. The organs that are most likely to be affected by cancers that spread are the brain, lungs or the liver.
If a person is either suffering with stage 1 or 2 melanoma, they can have the tumor removed surgically. There are also medications that they can take, that have the same affect. There is no longer a need for anymore medical help unless more abnormal skin cells start to form again. Depending on the stage, the doctor may also choose to do a biopsy on the lymph node to determine if the cancer has spread.
In stages 3 and 4 surgery can also be done to remove any and all of the tumors. But since the disease has spread to other areas of the body, a person who is suffering with this condition may have to go through chemo or radiation treatments to slow down the process.
To avoid getting any type of skin cancer, always wear protective clothing and a sun block if you will be out in the sun for more than a few hours. You can also stay out of the sun at the peak hours of the day between 11am and 3 pm.