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Stage 2

Find out what stage 2 melanoma skin cancer means and about treatment options.

Stage 2 is part of the number staging system. The melanoma is only in the skin and there is no sign that it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Stage 2 is divided into 2A, 2B and 2C.

Stage 2A

Stage 2A means one of the following:

  • the melanoma is between 1 and 2 mm thick and is ulcerated
  • it is between 2 and 4mm and is not ulcerated

Stage 2B

Stage 2B means one of the following:

  • the melanoma is between 2 and 4mm thick and is ulcerated
  • it is thicker than 4mm and is not ulcerated

Stage 2C

Stage 2C means the melanoma is thicker than 4mm and is ulcerated

TNM stages

The TNM staging system stands for Tumour, Node, Metastasis.

  • T describes the size of the tumour
  • N describes whether there are any cancer cells in the lymph nodes
  • M describes whether the cancer has spread to a different part of the body

In the TNM staging system stage 2A is the same as one of the following:

  • T2b, N0, M0
  • T3a, N0, M0

Stage 2B is the same as one of the following:

  • T3b, N0, M0
  • T4a, N0, M0

Stage 2C is the same as T4b, N0, M0

Treatment

The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide what treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • where the cancer is
  • other health conditions

Surgery is the main treatment. Doctors remove the abnormal mole and a small area of surrounding skin. You usually have a second operation to remove a larger area of healthy tissue around where the melanoma was. This is called a wide local excision. 

Your doctor might offer you a test to check your lymph nodes. You can choose whether to have this test. The test is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy and you usually have it under a general anaesthetic.

Last reviewed: 
12 Nov 2015
  • Melanoma assessment and management
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, July 2015

  • Cancer: Principles and practice of oncology (10th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015   

  • TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours (7th edition)
    International Union Against Cancer   
    L.H. Sobin, M.K. Gospodarowicz, Ch. Wittekind
    John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2009

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