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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Skin cancer stages

Making an educated treatment decision begins with the stage, or progression, of the disease. The stage of skin cancer is one of the most important factors in evaluating treatment options.

TNM system for skin cancer

The American Joint Commission on Cancer has developed a uniform system for describing the stages of skin cancer. This system allows doctors to determine how advanced a skin cancer is, and to share that information with each other in a meaningful way. This system, known as the TNM system, is composed of three key pieces of information:

  • Tumor (T) describes the tumor’s size, location and how deep it has grown into the skin.
  • Nodes (N) indicates whether or not cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes, or the channels connecting the lymph nodes.
  • Metastasis (M) refers to whether the cancer cells have spread to distant organs.

 

Last Revised: 10/12/2015

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