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Cancer Health Center

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Skin Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information for Skin Cancer

Table 2. High-Risk Features for Primary Tumor (T) Staging for Non-Eyelid Carcinoma

a Reprinted with permission from AJCC: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other cutaneous carcinomas. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 301-14.
Depth/invasion >2 mm thickness (Breslow thickness).
Clark level ≥IV.
Perineural invasion.
Anatomic Primary site ear.
Location Primary site hair-bearing lip.
Differentiation Poorly differentiated or undifferentiated.

Table 3. Regional Lymph Nodes (N) for Non-Eyelid Carcinomaa

a Reprinted with permission from AJCC: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other cutaneous carcinomas. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 301-14.
NX Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed.
N0 No regional lymph node metastases.
N1 Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, ≤3 cm in greatest dimension.
N2 Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, >3 cm but ≤6 cm in greatest dimension; or in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, ≤6 cm in greatest dimension; or in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2a Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, >3 cm but ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2b Metastases in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2c Metastases in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
N3 Metastasis in a lymph node, >6 cm in greatest dimension.

Table 4. Distant Metastasis (M) for Non-Eyelid Carcinomaa

a Reprinted with permission from AJCC: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other cutaneous carcinomas. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 301-14.
M0 No distant metastases.
M1 Distant metastases.

Patients with a primary cutaneous SCC or other cutaneous carcinoma with no evidence (i.e., clinical, radiologic, or pathologic) of regional or distant metastases are divided into the following two stages:

  • Stage I for tumors measuring 2 cm or less in size.
  • Stage II for tumors measuring more than 2 cm in size.

In instances where there is clinical concern about extension of the tumor into bone and radiologic evaluation has been performed (and is negative), these data may be included to support the stage I versus stage II designation. Tumors that are 2 cm or less in size can be upstaged to stage II if they contain two or more high-risk features.

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