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Removing a Stage One Melanoma

Dr. Anna Pavlick NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center

The stage of your diagnosis depends on how deep the melanoma has spread into the layers of your skin. Stage one is typically treatable with removal, but if it has spread deeper than surface-level, it means you’re in further stages and may require other treatment.

Fortunately, stage one is very treatable and has very favorable metrics in terms of cure rate. Your doctor will be able to decipher if you’re eligible for removal upon assessment of the deepness of your cancer. If your melanoma is less than 0.8 mm in depth, your dermatologist may do an office-based excision.

The doctor will cut out the lesion with a scalpel and it will be sent a pathologist for review. You may be referred to a plastic surgeon if the melanoma is in an area that’s sensitive, like on the face. If your melanoma is 0.8mm or greater in depth, it is recommended to have a sentinel node biopsy to adequately stage it to see how far it has spread. This can be done under either local or general anesthesia in the OR. In 90 percent of stage one melanomas, this will conclude treatment.


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Dr. Anna Pavlick is a medical oncologist and a Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center. Read More