After looking at the pathology report, physicians assign a cancer stages as a means to classify their patients according to their chances of being cured, and to guide their choice of treatment. In general, doctors integrate information on the primary tumor with data on the presence and location of metastases to arrive at the cancer stage.
Stage 1: The tumor is up to 1.5 millimetres thick;no evidence of nearby skin or lymph node involvement or of distant metastasis. The five -year survival rate is about 95 percent.
Stage 2: The primary tumor is more than 1.5 millimetres thick; no evidence of spread. The five- year survival rate is about 80 percent.Note that the outcome for patients with stage 1 and 2 disease can be more accurately forecast.
Stage 3: Melanoma has spread into the lymph glands (nodes) near the primary tumor. The five-year survival rate is about 50 percent.
Stage 4: Colonies of melanoma cells are evident beyond the regional nodes (for example, in the distant skin or nodes or in the organs in the body). The five- year survival rate is about 10 percent.
Remember that these methods of predicting outcomes, although useful in judging how a group of people will do, are often remarkably inadequate in foretelling your particular future.