This week was easily the slowest week of my research so far because of the stress from college decisions. I was not able to annotate nearly as much, and it’s definitely thrown me off and put me behind schedule, so hopefully I’ll be able to recover in the coming weeks.
This week I’ll focus particularly on stage 3 melanoma. Stage 3 is broken down into 4 parts. 3A, 3B, 3C, and 3D.
Stage 3A melanoma can be identified by its various characteristics. Tumor thickness is one of these characteristics. A tumor thickness of 1mm or less falls under 3A, regardless of ulceration or between 1 and 2mm without ulceration. At this stage, the melanoma has spread to three nearby lymph nodes, but no sites that are distant from the origin.
Stage 3B melanoma can be identified by its own traits. Tumor thickness is again one of them. This time, a tumor thickness of 1mm or less falls under 3B, regardless of ulceration or between 1 and 2mm without ulceration or between 1 and 2mm without ulceration accompanied by the melanoma spreading to one lymph node or spreading to regions of the skin close to the origin tumor or headed in the direction of lymph nodes, or the melanoma has spread to up to three lymph nodes, or the melanoma has not reached any surrounding areas as of yet. Alternatively, 3B may also be detected by the melanoma tumor thickness being between 1 and 2mm with ulceration or between 2 and 4mm without ulceration, accompanied by the melanoma spreading to one lymph node or to a small section of surrounding skin or to two to three lymph nodes or it having not yet spread to any surrounding region. The last means of classifying melanoma stage 3B is if there is no sign of the primary tumor and the melanoma has spread to one lymph node or to a small patch of surrounding skin, and it has not traveled to distant regions just yet.
Stage 3C is when the thickness is greater than 4mm with no ulceration and the melanoma has spread to one lymph node or two to three lymph nodes or a small patch of surrounding skin. Alternatively, there may be no sign of any primary tumor, in which case the melanoma may have spread to one lymph node or two to three lymph nodes, but not to any distant sites.
Stage 3D is identified by thickness greater than 4mm with ulceration and the spread of the melanoma to four or more lymph nodes or to two or more detected lymph nodes, but again, not yet to distant sites.
Stage 3 is definitely the most complex of all stages. It’s the most nuanced and I’m still in the process of familiarizing myself with what characteristics will bring each melanoma sample under which classification. I hope to have a productive meeting with my external advisor this week to discuss what results we can come to based on my annotations thus far.
Citation: “Stage 3 Melanoma.” Melanoma Research Alliance, www.curemelanoma.org/about-melanoma/melanoma-staging/stage-3/.