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How does stage 3 melanoma affect the body?

Stage 3 melanoma is caused by the overproduction of certain skin cells called melanocytes, which are the cells that produce skin pigment. This cell overgrowth usually starts on an existing mole on the skin or as a new skin growth. Generally, these growths are found in areas of skin that are exposed to sunlight, although they may be found in other parts of the body, including some internal areas. Stage 3 melanoma is the fourth stage of skin cancer, so growths have spread from the skin through the underlying fat and tissue and into the regional lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small glands that filter out harmful substances from the body, so the lymph nodes closest to where the melanoma began are usually the first areas of the body affected by the spreading cancer. If left untreated, stage 3 melanoma will continue to spread rapidly throughout the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.