Treatment of Stage 0 Melanoma in Situ


Patients with melanoma in situ (stage 0) have melanoma cells only in the topmost layer of the skin (epidermis). There is no invasion of the deeper layer (dermis) and very little chance of spread. Melanoma in situ is curable by adequate removal with surgery. The cure rate (defined as survival for 5 or more years after diagnosis) is 99.5 percent to 100 percent.

To ensure that all the cancer is removed, the surgeon removes a margin of normal skin along with the tumor. Melanoma in situ is considered to be cured if this surgical margin is free of melanoma cells. A pathologist will check the tissue under a microscope. Nearly all patients with melanoma in situ are cured after adequate surgical removal of the lesion. Inadequate surgical removal of a melanoma in situ can lead to a recurrence of the lesion or progression of the lesion to a more advanced melanoma.

This content was last reviewed August 15, 2010 by Dr. Reshma L. Mahtani.
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