Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Staging Process

Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

There are three types of skin cancer. Most people have heard of the irregular moles associated with the most deadly form, melanoma. But this is actually the rarest form. Squamous cell skin cancer falls somewhere in between melanoma and basal cell in terms of severity, but it’s fast spreading properties make it much more of a challenge.

Many people understand that the severity of cancer is graded in stages, and squamous skin cell cancer is no exception. Your doctor will use a variety of factors to determine what stage your condition is at, which will help determine treatment options. This staging correlates with how much the cancer has spread to close areas and possibly lymph nodes.

Stage 0, also referred to as “in situ” means that the abnormal lesion is contained to the skin’s surface. There may be a small amount of abnormal cells in the layer under the surface, the epidermis. Stage 1, cancer is evident, but the tumor us normally not larger than 2 centimeters. Cancer cells are evident in the dermis and the area exhibits at least one common high risk features. Squamous cell skin cancer at stage 2 shows a tumor larger than 2 centimeters and two or more high risk features of non melanoma skin cancer are present.

At stage three, the tumor has typically spread and may be present in one lymph node or to other areas of the body such as the jaw. At stage 4, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and possibly distant parts of the body. Once or more lymph nodes could be affected at this final stage of squamous cell skin cancer.

Unlike basal skin cancer which usually confines itself to the nose or other face areas, Squamous cell does spread to other parts of the body and will, if allowed to progress, spread to lymph nodes.

There are many ways to prevent skin cancer, and they’re all easy. Use a good sun block, cover exposed skin when outdoors and find a sun hat to reduce your chances of developing this potentially life threatening condition.