Stage 1 Melanoma
Stage I melanoma is no more than 1.0 millimeter thick (about the size of a sharpened pencil point), with or without an ulceration (broken skin). There is no evidence that Stage I melanoma has spread to the lymph tissues, lymph nodes, or body organs.
Stage I melanoma is divided into two subgroups:
Stage IA Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is less than 1.0 millimeter thick (less than the size of a sharpened pencil point) with or without ulceration (broken skin) when viewed under the microscope.
Stage IB Melanoma: The melanoma tumor is more than 1.0 millimeter and less than 2.0 millimeters thick without ulceration.
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 for Stage 1 Melanoma: Stage I melanoma is treated by removing the tumor surgically. Wide local excision, a minor surgery, usually cures local melanoma. This may be accompanied by a sentinel lymph-node biopsy in some instances, but this is not recommended for all patients. Learn more about melanoma treatments here.
Prognosis for Stage 1 Melanoma: With appropriate treatment, Stage I melanoma is highly curable. There is low risk for recurrence or metastasis. The 5-year survival rate as of 2018 for local melanoma, including Stage I, is 98.4%. Click here to learn more about melanoma survival rates.
Follow-Up Care for Stage 1 Melanoma: After being treated for Stage I melanoma, you should conduct monthly 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. You should also undergo a physical exam by your doctor every 6 to 12 months for the first 5 years, and then annually as needed. 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.