Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Staging

A doctor discuses squamous cell carcinoma staging with a patient
Tests are conducted to determine the stage
of your squamous cell carcinoma, which is
then used develop an appropriate treatment
plan.

Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan treatment.

Understanding Your Stage of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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 recommend imaging such as CT or PET-CT scan, or testing 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.

Most non-melanoma 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.

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