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How Quickly Does Melanoma Progress

A Very Interesting Study Of Melanoma Stage 1 2 And 3

Progress in prostate cancer appears to slow

From 2004 to 2012, 150,000 adults with stage 1, 2 and 3 were studied.

For those who waited more than 90 days to get surgical treatment, survival rate decreased regardless of disease stage.

For stage 1 melanoma, a surgery delay beyond the first 29 days had a negative impact on overall survival.

For stage 1 disease, patients were five percent more likely to die if they received treatment between 30 and 59 days.

Between 60-89 days? The mortality rate was 16 percent.

For 91-120 days it was 29 percent.

Beyond four months it was 41 percent.

From these results, researchers infer that the ideal timing for treatment is fewer than 30 days from diagnosis.

So we know that delaying treatment is very strongly associated with mortality rate from this cancer and thats with stage 1.

You can imagine the jump in numbers if a diagnosed stage 2 or especially 4 melanoma were investigated in a similar fashion.

A study such as this is the closest that we can come to determining the answer to How long does it take for stage 2 melanoma to progress to stage 4.

If youve been diagnosed with stage 2 disease, DO NOT PUT OFF TREATMENT.

If this means cancelling a much-anticipated vacation, then this is what you must do.

The vacation can wait. Your lungs and brain cant. The first two organs that melanoma usually spreads to are the lungs and brain!

In fact, if your diagnosis is stage 1, your treatment should come first, before any vacations or anything else.

Could It Be Nail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a more common problem that you might experience, however, it is more easily identified compared to a melanoma.

Toenails that are infected usually become thicker, change size or shape, become lighter in color and have scaly, brittle edges.

They can have dark brown areas, but the infection usually affects more than one toe at the same time.

If the fungus does appear under the toenail, it is more likely to be a white patch that grows. As the fungus spreads underneath, the toenail will most likely split and may fall off.

What About White Streaks On Your Nails

Another possible symptom to be aware of is noticing a white streak on your nails. Some people do have white marks on their nails, but this is usually due to some sort of damage that you may have done to it. It is also more probable that any white marks or ridges on your nails are due to vitamin deficiency.

However, if you notice these white streaks, where you are certain you have not caused them through any other means, it is important to seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible.

It could also be a sign of toenail fungus or an infection.

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What Is The Treatment

Unfortunately, research shows that treatment or removal of most toenail melanomas is done whilst they are in a later stage of growth. These are technically tumors but are often benign, meaning that they can be removed quite quickly and easily with surgery.

Important note: They are usually done later because they are identified late which again prompts me to remind you to make an appointment if you think you have something like this.

However, one thing to note is that because it is covered by a nail, the toe or thumbnail will most likely be partially or completely removed to allow access to the affected area.

The surgery should only last for around an hour and it will be completed under local aesthetic, meaning a lengthy stay in hospital is not likely unless there are complications from the surgery.

If there is cancer, your doctor may follow up with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

It is also possible that a small part of your toe will be removed if there is cancer and it has spread. However, if the diagnosis is very late and the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, the treatment will become more general as specifically targeting your toe will not help as much as having proper cancer treatments.

What Is The Survival Rate

This is the inside of the mole that I had removed from my ...

the 5 year survival rate from a toenail melanoma is 16% to 87%.

As with any cancer, the earlier it is detected, the more effective the treatment will be. However, because of the location and the way this cancer looks, there is usually a delay in being diagnosed and treated, which can lead to lower survival rates.

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What Are The Melanoma Stages And What Do They Mean

Early melanomas

Stage 0 and I are localized, meaning they have not spread.

  • Stage 0: Melanoma is localized in the outermost layer of skin and has not advanced deeper. This noninvasive stage is also called melanoma in situ.
  • Stage I: The cancer is smaller than 1 mm in Breslow depth, and may or may not be ulcerated. It is localized but invasive, meaning that it has penetrated beneath the top layer into the next layer of skin. Invasive tumors considered stage IA are classified as early and thin if they are not ulcerated and measure less than 0.8 mm.

Find out about treatment options for early melanomas.

Intermediate or high-risk melanomas

Localized but larger tumors may have other traits such as ulceration that put them at high risk of spreading.

  • Stage II: Intermediate, high-risk melanomas are tumors deeper than 1 mm that may or may not be ulcerated. Although they are not yet known to have advanced beyond the primary tumor, the risk of spreading is high, and physicians may recommend a sentinel lymph node biopsy to verify whether melanoma cells have spread to the local lymph nodes. Thicker melanomas, greater than 4.0 mm, have a very high risk of spreading, and any ulceration can move the disease into a higher subcategory of stage II. Because of that risk, the doctor may recommend more aggressive treatment.

Learn more about sentinel lymph node biopsy and melanoma treatment options.

Advanced melanomas

How Fast Can Melanoma Spread

A second factor that plays an important role in how fast melanoma can spread is the genetic factor. Certain gene abnormalities encourage melanoma to invade the surrounding tissue. This means that certain ways of how cells are composed can affect the speed of the melanoma spreading. This process, though, can vary significantly from one person to another.

If you have been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, talk with your doctor about your personal situation and treatment options.

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Diagnosis And Staging What It Means For You

How is melanoma diagnosed?

To diagnose melanoma, a dermatologist biopsies the suspicious tissue and sends it to a lab, where a dermatopathologist determines whether cancer cells are present.

After the disease is diagnosed and the type of melanoma is identified, the next step is for your medical team to identify the stage of the disease. This may require additional tests including imaging such as PET scans, CT scans, MRIs and blood tests.

The stage of melanoma is determined by several factors, including how much the cancer has grown, whether the disease has spread and other considerations. Melanoma staging is complex, but crucial. Knowing the stage helps doctors decide how to best treat your disease and predict your chances of recovery.

Prognosis And Survival For Melanoma Skin Cancer

From our patients: what does progress in cancer care mean to you?

If you have melanoma skin cancer, you may have questions about your prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors best estimate of how cancer will affect someone and how it will respond to treatment. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with your medical history, the type and stage of the cancer, the treatments chosen and the response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together. They both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.

The following are prognostic and predictive factors for melanoma skin cancer.

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How Fast Does Melanoma Spread

Skin cancers are the most common type of cancer in the world, with an estimated 1 in 5 Americans developing some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. Detected early, most skin cancers can be treated and cured.

Some types of skin cancer, like melanoma, are more aggressive and have the potential to spread more quickly than others.Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that occurs when melanocytes grow out of control. Left untreated, the cancer can metastasize, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. But just how fast does melanoma spread, and what is the prognosis at each stage?

Board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon Dr. Michael Montuno explains what patients need to know about melanoma, including the different types, how it spreads, prevention tips, and treatments.

How Quickly Does Melanoma Grow

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Different Kinds Of Skin Cancer

There are many types of skin cancer. Some are very rare. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have.

The two most common kinds of skin cancers are:

  • Basal cell cancer, which starts in the lowest layer of the skin
  • Squamous cell cancer, which starts in the top layer of the skin

Another kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. These cancers start from the color-making cells of the skin . You can read about melanoma in If You Have Melanoma Skin Cancer.

What Affects Survival

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Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how deeply it has grown into the skin and whether it has spread.

Survival is better for women than it is for men. We don’t know exactly why this is. It may be because women are more likely to see a doctor about their melanoma at an earlier stage.

Age can affect outlook and younger people have a better prognosis than older people.

Your outlook may also be affected by where the melanoma is in the body.

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What Causes Melanoma

Melanoma is caused by skin cells that begin to develop abnormally.

Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is thought to cause most melanomas, but there’s evidence to suggest that some may result from sunbed exposure.

The type of sun exposure that causes melanoma is sudden intense exposure. For example, while on holiday, which leads to sunburn.

Certain things can increase your chance of developing melanoma, such as having:

  • lots of moles or freckles
  • pale skin that burns easily
  • red or blonde hair

Read more about the causes of melanoma.

How Common Is It

Overall, skin cancers are the most common cancers in the United States. But melanoma is less common than the other two major types, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

Each year about 91,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with melanoma of the skin, according to the American Cancer Society. By comparison, about 3.3 million are diagnosed with one or more basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas.

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How Do You Treat Stage 4 Melanoma

The good news is that even stage 4 melanoma can be treated. The sooner the cancer is found, the sooner it can be removed and the higher your chances are for recovery. Stage 4 melanoma also has the most treatment options, but these options depend on:

  • where the cancer is
  • how advanced the cancer has become
  • your age and overall health

How you respond to treatment also affects your treatment options. The five standard treatments for melanoma are:

  • surgery: to remove the primary tumor and affected lymph nodes
  • chemotherapy: a drug treatment to stop growth of cancer cells
  • radiation therapy: the application of high-energy X-rays to inhibit growth and cancer cells
  • immunotherapy: treatment to boost your immune system
  • targeted therapy: the use of drugs or other substances to attack cancer drugs

Other treatments may also depend on where the cancer has spread to. Your doctor will discuss your options with you to help map out a treatment plan.

How Serious Is My Cancer

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If you have melanoma, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called staging. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what type of treatment is best for you.

The stage describes the growth or spread of the melanoma through the skin. It also tells if it has spread to other parts of your body.

Your cancer can be stage 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread beyond the skin. Be sure to ask the doctor about the cancer stage and what it means for you.

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What Should You Do

If you suspect that you have a nail melanoma, the first advice is not to panic. The possibility that the mole or mark is cancerous is quite low and the sooner you take action to investigate it, the better.

Start by making a note of the location and size of the spot taking photographs is a good way to do this. If, whilst you are monitoring it over a few days, you can see that the spot has grown in size or changed color, there is a higher chance that it could be a melanoma.

The next step will be to make an appointment with your doctor and present your findings to them, asking for a referral to check if this spot is turning into a melanoma.

It is likely that, in the absence of any other possible cause for the discoloration or mark, that you will be sent for a biopsy to confirm its status.


If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, it is important that you make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. To put it bluntly, these melanomas are often non-cancerous but they are cancer and are best investigated and treated as early as possible.

Early detection will increase the recovery rate and will put your mind at rest more quickly. Because a toenail melanoma is a type of cancer, it is also highly likely that a follow-up course of chemotherapy and radiation treatment will be completed.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Stages

There are certain features that are considered to make the cancer at higher risk for spreading or recurrence, and these may also be used to stage basal cell carcinomas. These include:

  • Greater than 2 mm in thickness
  • Invasion into the lower dermis or subcutis layers of the skin
  • Invasion into the tiny nerves in the skin
  • Location on the ear or on a hair-bearing lip

After the TNM components and risk factors have been established, the cancer is given a stage. For basal cell carcinoma staging, the factors are grouped and labeled 0 to 4. The characteristics and stages of basal cell carcinoma are:

Stage 0: Also called carcinoma in situ, cancer discovered in this stage is only present in the epidermis and has not spread deeper to the dermis.

Stage 1 basal cell carcinoma: The cancer is less than 2 centimeters, about 4/5 of an inch across, has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or organs, and has one or fewer high-risk features.

Stage 2 basal cell carcinoma: The cancer is larger than 2 centimeters across, and has not spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes, or a tumor of any size with 2 or more high-risk features.

Stage 3 basal cell carcinoma: The cancer has spread into facial bones or 1 nearby lymph node, but not to other organs.

Stage 4 basal cell carcinoma: The cancer can be any size and has spread to 1 or more lymph nodes which are larger than 3 cm and may have spread to bones or other organs in the body.

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Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms

The most noticeable sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole or birthmark. People should be aware of any pigmented areas on the skin that appear abnormal in color, shape, size, or texture.

People with stage 4 melanoma may also have ulcerated skin, which is skin with tiny breaks on the surface. These ulcerations can bleed.

Another sign is swollen or hard lymph nodes, which a doctor can confirm by carrying out a physical examination. Other tests include blood tests and imaging scans to confirm the presence of cancer and check how much it has spread.

How Fast Does Melanoma Spread And What Should I Know About This Skin Cancer

Mission " Melanoma" : Melanoma Facts

Melanoma is the most lethal and serious type of skin cancer, with the exception of certain rare skin cancers, due to melanoma being often likely to metastasize to the internal organs and lymph nodes. 77 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths are due to melanoma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Being able to recognize this cancer when it is in its very early stages is crucial in surviving this skin cancer.

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