Staging is the process of determining the extent (spread) of the disease. Staging is very important because your treatment and the prognosis (chance of recovery) depend on the stage of your cancer. Physical exams, imaging tests (such as a CT scan), biopsies, and blood tests are used to determine stage.

Mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome are staged differently than the rest of the cutaneous lymphomas. They are grouped into overall stages of I, II, III, and IV, which may be further subdivided into A and B.

Stage I.

Thin patches or plaques on the skin. There are no tumors and no involvement of the lymph nodes.

Stage II.

There are few or no tumors. Lymph nodes may be normal or enlarged but are not cancerous.

Stage III.

Skin lesions cover at least 80 percent of the body; lymph nodes may be normal or enlarged but are not cancerous.

Stage IV.

Skin lesions may cover any amount of skin; lymph nodes may be normal or enlarged and may be cancerous; lymphoma cells may or may not have spread to other organs or tissues, such as the liver or spleen; there may be cancerous lymphocytes in the blood.

A TNM staging system, which is quite complex, is used for the other cutaneous lymphomas, including primary cutaneous follicle-center lymphoma.

  • T describes how much of the skin is affected by the lymphoma (tumor)
  • N describes the extent of the lymphoma in the lymph nodes
  • M describes the spread (metastases) of the lymphoma to other organs