skin-cancer

Understanding the Stages of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a term that refers to an abnormal growth of skin cells, and it most often develops on skin that has been overexposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Of the three, melanoma is by far the most serious and dangerous, however it is important in all cases to have as immediate an assessment and diagnosis as possible.

There are different stages of skin cancer, in all three types, and these stages of skin cancer are very important to understand and be educated about. There are a variety of tests that may be performed on you in order to determine what stage your skin cancer is at, but most basal cell cancers do not require this sort of testing because it is very rare for them to spread.

TNM Staging System

The TNM staging system is the most common method for determining stages of skin cancer, and this system takes into consideration factors such as the size of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and whether the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

Once these particular categories have been decided, the information will be combined and considered together in order to determine the stage a particular cancer is at. There are five different stages of skin cancer, ranking from 0-4. Stage 0 is when the cancer is only in the top layer of the skin, 1 is when the cancer is less than 2cm across and has not spread, 2 is when the cancer is more than 2cm across and has not spread, 3 is when the cancer has spread to the tissues under the skin and possibly to nearby lymph nodes, and 4 is when the cancer has spread to another part of the body entirely.

These stages of skin cancer are critical to know about because then you are able to understand how serious your skin cancer is, how far it has spread and be able to work together with your doctor better in order to determine the method of treatment that is going to be best suited to you and your needs. Your physician will be able to take the time to discuss these different stages more with you so that you can get the details and understand them each more. The more you know, the more aware you will be of the disease in general and the better off you are going to be.


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