If your doctor has told you that you have stage 2 melanoma, this is obviously more serious than a stage 1 diagnosis.
Stage 2 melanomas will be thicker than 2mm and possibly ulcerated. Like stage 1, stage 2 melanomas will only be in the skin and there will be no indication that there is any spread to lymph nodes in the same area or close by. However, stage 2 melanoma patients have a higher risk of the disease progressing further.
Stage 3 melanoma is more likely to have spread to other parts of the body than stage 1 melanoma and the cells will probably have spread deeper into the skin. Unfortunately, some melanoma cells might have reached the blood vessels or lymph vessels immediately under the skin. The cells can be spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or through lymph fluid.
You will be advised that you will need surgery to remove the melanoma followed by a wide local excision – removing more tissue in the surrounding area. There are guidelines for melanoma treatment : Between 1 & 2 mm – removal of 1-2cm of tissue: Between 2 & 4 mm melanoma – removal of 2-3 cm of tissue: deeper than 4mm, at least 3cm of tissue should be removed.
Unfortunately between 15 & 35% of Stage 2A melanomas will come back at some stage following surgery: between 40 & 70% of stage 2B and 2c melanomas will come back and more than half of stage 3 will come back. You will be given advice and support in this respect.
Following this diagnosis, you will be closely monitored and must make sure you attend all follow up appointments. Regular checks must be carried out and if you find anything that concerns you, you should seek urgent medical advice.
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