Skin Cancer Melanoma Staging System and Prognosis
The staging system for cutaneous melanoma under the auspices of the American Joint Committee on Cancer was revised in 2002. Tumor-node-metastasis criteria for melanoma were established. These criteria are used to establish the stages listed in the Table. Surgical intervention and prognosis are based on these stages. In general, the thinner the melanoma, the better the prognosis. Localized disease has a far better prognosis than metastatic disease. Female patients and younger patients tend to have a more favorable prognosis. A melanoma on an extremity has a more favorable prognosis than a melanoma on the trunk, head or neck. Melanoma on the scalp has a worse prognosis than melanoma elsewhere on the head or neck.