The Facts about Metastatic Melanoma

Although melanoma is the rarest type of skin cancer, it can be the most serious. There are four stages of melanoma and these stages indicate the progression of the disease and which type of treatment will be necessary. Stage I melanoma is the easiest to treat, because it has not spread past the outer layer of skin. Stage II means the cancer has spread to the other skin layers, but no farther. This stage is also fairly easy to treat.

Stage III melanoma signifies that the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and lymph nodes. It is still treatable at this stage, although the modes of treatment might switch to slightly more aggressive methods. Stage IV melanoma is also known as metastatic melanoma. This type of cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Metastatic melanoma is the hardest type of skin cancer to treat, and is often fatal.


People who are diagnosed with metastatic melanoma have an average survival rate of six to nine months. Less than five percent will make it to the five-year survival rate. Metastatic melanoma usually strikes in people in the earlier years of life. In fact, it is the most common type of cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 29. This disease is responsible for the deaths of approximately 7300 people every year.

The Importance of Early Detection

Because the prognosis for metastatic melanoma is not particularly good, prevention and early detection of melanoma is the key to survival and effective treatment options. When melanoma is caught in the early stages of the disease, the survival rate can be as high as 99%. This is why people should screen themselves for melanoma before the cancer gets to the later stage of metastatic melanoma when it is nearly impossible to cure. And there are plenty of steps that you can take to assist in early detection of the disease.

Screening for melanoma is easy to do, and basically consists of studying your skin regularly for unusual changes or developments in terms of moles, bumps or lesions. This also needs to include changes in size, color or feel of current moles that you may have had for some time. If you notice any changes to your skin, it is important to get into the doctor as soon as possible for a professional evaluation.

Metastatic melanoma is a scary diagnosis, but fortunately there are steps that you can take to ensure that this news never comes. By closely watching your skin for any changes and talking to your doctor about any concerns, you can do much to prevent a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.

Related Information and Products

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation -
Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. If you have skin cancer, it is important to know which type you have because it affects your treatment options and your outlook (prognosis). If you aren’t sure which type of skin cancer you have, ask your doctor so you can get the right information.
Skin Cancer | Skin Cancer Facts | Common Skin Cancer Types
Skin Cancer Overview. Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers, with 1 million people in the U.S. diagnosed each year with some type of the disease.. Cancer occurs when normal cells ...