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What is metastatic melanoma?
In general, cancers are divided into two types: benign and malignant. Both are caused by uncontrolled proliferation and division of cells, but the difference is that benign tumours always stay in one location, while malignant tumours have the ability to spread to other sites, which is called metastasis. If a malignant tumour is diagnosed early, it can be removed before metastasizing.
To understand what the term stage four metastatic melanoma refers to, we need to take a look at how physicians classify malignant tumours. According to the TNM system, tumours are organized into various stages. The criteria for classifying a tumor as being of a certain stage include the tumour size, the spread of that tumour into the nearby lymph nodes, and the spread of the tumour to distant sites. Any tumor which is found to have metastasized to other body parts is automatically labelled a stage four tumour, the least favourable stage and the most difficult one to treat.