Staging BCC

STAGING BCC

Unlike most other cancers, BCCs are often not formally staged as they only rarely metastasize. However, when there is a need to stage BCC lesions, the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s ( AJCC ) classification scheme for cutaneous carcinoma of the head and neck is used. It should be noted that the classification information listed below only pertains to BCCs located on the head and neck; there is no AJCC staging system for BCC outside the head and neck. (1)

BCC stages are based on 3 key pieces of information

T The size of the tumor (T)  and if it has grown deeper into nearby structures or tissues, such as a bone
N If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N)
M If the cancer has spread (metastasized) to distant parts of the body (M)

STAGES 0-IV

In general, individuals with lower stage BCC lesions experience a better prognosis than those with more advanced disease.

STAGE 0 

Cancer is found only in the original tumor in the skin. It is only in the epidermis and has not spread to the dermis. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I

The tumor is 2 centimeters wide or smaller,  about 4/5 of an inch across .It may have spread into the dermis. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes, muscle, cartilage, bone or organs, and has one or fewer high-risk features.

Stage II

The cancer is larger than 2 centimeters across, and has not 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, and has 2 or more high-risk features.

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.

Stage IV

The cancer can be any size and has spread (metastasized) to 1 or more lymph nodes which are larger than 3 cm and may have spread to bones or other organs in the body.

Estimate Survival Brain Metastases Tool

Brain metastases are a common problem, with incidence estimates ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 patients per year. The Melanoma – Graded Prognostic Assessment (GPA) is a diagnosis-specific prognostic index for patients with brain metastases. Additional factors, including BRAF status, have been found to be prognostic. Those factors, weighted by significance, have been incorporated into the new Melanoma-molGPA. The GPA will help patients and their doctors select appropriate treatment and is also used for the arrangement of clinical trials.

Please note this tool is used as an estimation guide and does not replace the advice or opinion of your health care specialist.

BCC Treatments

Learn more about the treatment options for BCC

BCC Support

The Melanoma Network of Canada has a number of free services for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

What Does BCC Look Like

Images of Basal Cell Carcinoma

References:

  1. Cemiplimab BCC Learning System Module 2: Basal Cell Carcinoma Disease State
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