What are the stages of non-melanoma skin cancer?

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Staging non-melanoma skin cancer

The tests you have after diagnosis are usually done to help the doctor to stage your cancer. Staging means finding out the size of the cancer and if it has spread to other parts of your body.

Staging is very important, as it helps your doctor to decide the best treatment for you.

Your doctor will give your cancer a number stage – from 0 to 4. A higher number, such as stage 4, means a more serious cancer. Some stages are further divided into stage A and B.

Staging can be hard to understand, so ask your doctor and nurse for more information if you need it.

In general, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. 

What are the stages of non-melanoma skin cancer?

  • Stage 1: The cancer is found only in the top layer of skin. Bowen’s disease is considered stage 0.
  • Stage 2: The cancer is less than 2 cm across and has not spread.
  • Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the tissues under your skin and maybe to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread to another part of your body, for example, muscle, cartilage or bone. This rarely happens with basal and squamous cell cancers.

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