Stage 0 Melanoma
When melanoma is Stage 0, sometimes referred to as ‘melanoma in situ,’ cancer cells have breached only the epidermis (the very outer layer of the skin). Stage 0 melanoma is contained completely in this layer and has not yet moved into the deeper layers of skin. It is considered local melanoma (this group also includes Stage I and Stage II melanoma).
About Staging: Melanoma staging is based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system. The system assigns a stage based on tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) scores as well as additional prognostic factors. The goal is that melanomas of the same stage will have similar characteristics, treatment options, and outcomes. Learn more about melanoma staging here.
Treatment: Stage 0 melanoma is removed surgically, with minimal but clear margins. This is sometimes called an excision. Wide local excision, a minor surgery, usually cures local melanoma. Learn more about melanoma treatments here.
Prognosis: Stage 0 melanoma, or melanoma in situ, is highly curable. There is very little risk for recurrence or metastasis. The 5-year survival rate as of 2018 for local melanoma, including Stage 0, is 98.4%. Click here to learn more about melanoma survival rates.
Follow-Up Care: After being treated for Stage 0 melanoma, you should conduct regular self-exams of your skin and lymph nodes and have an annual, full-body skin exam performed by a trained dermatologist for the rest of your life. Imaging tests may be ordered as needed to monitor for recurrence.
Just Diagnosed? If you've been recently diagnosed with melanoma, you are not alone. The Melanoma > Exchange is a free online melanoma treatment and research focused discussion group and support community. Through the Melanoma > Exchange, anyone touched by Melanoma can find support, ask questions, and build community among people who share a similar experience. Join the Community.