Return to Index
Diagnosis of Melanoma
- Blood tests
- Chest x-rays
- PET scan —A radioactive substance is injected into your bloodstream and tracked by a scanning machine. Cancerous areas absorb more of the radioactive substance than normal tissue and show up as hot spots in advanced stages of cancer.
- MRI scan —Magnetic waves are used to take pictures inside the body. In some cases, you may have a contrast dye injected into your bloodstream.
- CT scan —Similar to x-rays, it takes clearer pictures and multiple views inside the body. CT scans can image organs and blood vessels. In some cases, you may have a contrast dye injected into your bloodstream.
- Sentinel lymph node study—Here the surgeon injects a radioactive tracer into the tumor site and then follows the tracer into the lymph node region. They then selectively remove only those nodes that pick up the radioactivity to see if they have cancer in them. If they do, a more complete lymph node dissection is performed, as is chemotherapy and immunotherapy. If none of the lymph nodes have cancer in them, the procedure is completed and further therapies are usually not offered unless the tumor itself was quite deep or large.
- Stage IA: In stage IA, the tumor is not more than 1 millimeter thick, with no ulceration.
Stage IB: In stage IB, the tumor is either:
- Not more than 1 millimeter thick with ulceration.
- 1 to 2 millimeters thick with no ulceration.
Stage IIA: In stage IIA, the tumor is either:
- 1 to 2 millimeters thick, with ulceration.
- 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.
Stage IIB: In stage IIB, the tumor is either:
- 2 to 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration.
- More than 4 millimeters thick, with no ulceration.
- Stage IIC: In stage IIC, the tumor is more than 4 millimeters thick, with ulceration.
Diagnosing melanoma. Melanoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.melanoma.org/learn-more/melanoma-101/imaging-tests. Accessed April 3, 2014.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 19, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2014.
Melanoma skin cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003120-pdf.pdf. Updated January 9, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2014.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 04/2014
- Update Date: 04/03/2014