Spreading to Lymph Nodes
Untreated melanoma grows downward into deeper layers of skin. It may enter the lymph vessels and spread to distant parts of the body.1 The term for the spread of cancer cells from the original skin tumor to other parts of the body is metastasis. This is when the skin cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
What happens when skin cancer spreads to the lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are clusters of cells that filter a fluid called lymph.2 Lymph carries the white blood cells that help your body fight infection. The lymph nodes remove bacteria and other harmful substances from the lymph. During an examination for suspected melanoma, your doctor will check nearby skin and lymph nodes for signs that cancer has spread.
What is the difference between satellite metastasis and in transit metastasis?
The difference between satellite metastasis and in-transit metastasis is how far it is from the primary (original) tumor (Figure).3
- Satellite metastasis: Lesion less than 2 centimeters (cm) from primary tumor
- In-transit metastasis: Lesion more than 2 cm from primary tumor, but not past the regional lymph nodes