The stage of a cancer describes its size and whether it has spread. Knowing the stage of the cancer helps the doctors decide on the best treatment for you.
There are different staging systems that may be used to stage anorectal melanoma. One of the most commonly used is a number system called the Ballantyne staging system:
- Stage 1 – the cancer is only in the anus and rectum. There are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere.
- Stage 2 – the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, such as lymph nodes in the groin.
- Stage 3 – the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Doctors may also use the following terms to describe the stage of the cancer:
- Early, local or clinically local – the cancer has not spread (stage 1).
- Regional or locally advanced – the cancer has begun to spread into surrounding tissues or nearby lymph nodes (stage 2).
- Advanced, or metastatic – the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (stage 3).