Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL) are classified into stages IA through IVB using the T (tumor, which for CTCL is patches or plaques), N (lymph node), M (presence of metastasis) (TNM) system.2 The level of disease is evaluated based on the size of the plaques or patches of affected skin (T1–T4); the presence or number of cancer cells in lymph nodes (N0–N3); and the presence of metastasis (M0–M1).
Stages IA, IB, and IIA are considered early-stage disease, meaning that the cancer is not widespread. Stages IIB through IVB are considered advanced-stage disease, where the cancer is more widespread and/or has moved outside the skin to other places in the body such as the lymph nodes or other organs.
The following are an explanation of the stages for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma:
Less than 10% of the skin is covered in red patches or plaques.
10% or more of the skin is covered in patches or plaques.
Any amount of the skin surface is covered with patches or plaques and lymph nodes are enlarged and inflamed, but the cancer has not spread to the nodes.
One or more tumors are found on the skin, lymph nodes may be enlarged, but cancer has not spread to the nodes.
Nearly all of the skin is reddened and may have patches, plaques or tumors; lymph nodes may be enlarged, but cancer has not spread to them.
Most of the skin is reddened and malignant cells are found in the blood; cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
Most of the skin is red, any amount of skin is covered in patches, plaques or tumors, cancer has spread to other organs.
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