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Treatment Options for Stage 0 Melanoma

After your stage of melanoma has been identified, your doctor will discuss a plan of treatment with you.

 

The standard treatment for Stage 0 disease is a re-excision of the original site with a surrounding area of normal-looking skin being taken. The standard amount of normal skin is 0.5 centimeters in every direction around the original cancer. This procedure may be done in a doctor's office under local anesthetic.

 

Treatment
 Goal
Surgery
To remove any cancer remaining after the biopsy. The procedure is called wide excision.

 

The surgeon removes the rest of the tumor, including the biopsy site, as well as a surgical margin, (a surrounding area of normal-appearing skin), and the underlying subcutaneous tissue, to make certain the whole tumor has been removed.

 

The width of the margin taken depends upon the thickness of the primary tumor.

 

Most surgeons today follow the guidelines adopted and recommended by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization Melanoma Program:

 

  • At least 0.5 centimeter margins in all directions (less than 0.25 inch

 

This typically results in a scar at least 4-5 cm (about 2 inches) in length, but it may be longer depending on the location on the skin and the size and orientation of the biopsy site.  Skin grafting may sometimes be required to cover the wound, especially on the face or on the fingers or toes. 

 

For more information on surgery click here.

 

For more information on follow-up click here.

 
For more information on stage 0 click here.

 

The overall survival rate (5 or 10 years) for Stage 0 is 99% to 100%-which means that almost all people diagnosed with Stage 0 have survived for 5 to10 years after diagnosis. (1)

 

References: 

1. Balch CM, Buzaid AC, Soong SJ, et al. Final version of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system for cutaneous melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19(16):3635-3648.


FAST FACTS

The standard treatment for Stage 0 disease is a re-excision of the original site with a surrounding area of normal-looking skin being taken.

 

The standard amount of normal skin is 0.5cm in every direction around the original cancer.