Diagnosis & staging
These are tests that may be used to diagnose this type of cancer.
- Physical examination by a family physician or a dermatologist.
- Physical examination of lymph nodes in the case of squamous cell carcinoma.
- Skin biopsy (surgical removal of tissue sample) to determine if it's benign, pre-cancerous or malignant.
For more information on tests used to diagnose cancer, see our Recommended Websites, Diagnostic Tests
Types and stages
- The main types of non-melanoma skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Staging describes the extent of a cancer. The TNM classification system is used as the standard around the world. In general a lower number in each category means a better prognosis. The stage of the cancer is used to plan the treatment.
T describes the site and size of the main tumour (primary)
N describes involvement of lymph nodes
M relates to whether the cancer has spread (presence or absence of distant metastases
Carcinoma in situ
Tumour of 2 cm or less, completely superficial
Tumour of 2 - 5 cm, or with minimal infiltration
Tumour extends to other structures, like cartilage, muscle or bone