How Is Stage 1 Melanoma Treated?

Stage 1 melanoma should be treated with an excision that removes both the melanoma and a section of normal skin around it, according to American Cancer Society. No more than 2 centimeters needs to be removed from the surrounding melanoma.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is needed if the melanoma is progressing to stage 2 and may have spread to the lymph nodes, states American Cancer Society. If the biopsy returns with positive results, doctors may recommend a lymph node dissection to remove all the lymph nodes by the cancer, sometimes supplemented with additional post-surgery treatments.

Stage 1 melanoma is broken into two parts, as described by Skin Cancer Foundation. In stage 1A, the tumor is less than or equal to 1 millimeter in thickness. The mole is not ulcerated, meaning that the skin covering the tumor is still intact. However, in stage 1B, the mole is roughly the same size but displays ulceration. During this stage, the cancer cells grow at an increasingly faster rate.

Melanoma is an extremely serious type of skin cancer, reports Mayo Clinic. The exact cause of it is unclear, but tanning lamps and beds that increase exposure to ultraviolet radiation are known to increase the risk of developing it. The earlier melanoma is detected, the easier it is to treat.

If there are no signs of melanoma in the lymph nodes, no more lymph node surgery is needed, claims the ACS. But if there are signs of cancer, more lymph nodes are removed and investigated. If the cancer has spread, some surgeons start the patient on interferon therapy. Interferon is a synthetic version of a protein that supports the immune system, says WebMD. It is considered an adjuvant therapy, which prevents more tumor cells from growing, says the ACS.