Understanding Your Stage of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
In most cases, nonmelanoma skin cancer is confined to the skin and is easily treated and cured. If skin cancer has spread, then your doctor will want to know the extent or stage of the skin cancer. This helps your doctor decide whether more treatment is needed and if so, which treatments might be best.
The stage is based on the size of the tumor, how deeply into the skin it has grown, and whether cancer has spread beyond the tumor to the lymph nodes. Your doctor will look at the results of the biopsy to determine the stage. If you have squamous cell carcinoma, your doctor may also test lymph nodes near the tumor to see if the cancer has spread beyond the skin.
Stages are numbered in Roman numerals between 0 and IV.
Stage III. The cancer has spread to areas below the skin, such as into muscle, bone, cartilage, or lymph nodes, but only those near the original tumor. It has not spread to distant organs.
Most nonmelanoma skin cancers are Stage 0 or Stage I. Stage III and IV are relatively rare. Based on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, your overall health, and other factors, your doctor works with you to develop a treatment plan.