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What is stage 4 melanoma?

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer, and stage 4 melanoma is the fifth and final stage of development of the cancer. Types of cancer are "staged" according to how widespread the cancer is. In the case of melanoma, staging depends on how deep within the skin the tumor is, how large the tumor itself is, and whether the cancer has spread through the skin to other parts of the body. Melanoma starts in the skin cells that make melanin, which is the protective pigment that gives skin color. By the time it reaches stage 4, the melanoma has spread through the skin, into the nearby lymph nodes, and on to other internal organs. Stage 4 melanoma is the last stage of melanoma, so the prognosis is not very good if the cancer hasn't been treated by this time.

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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.