Once cancer of the oropharynx is found, more tests will be done to find out if
cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. This is called staging.
A doctor needs to know the stage of the disease to plan treatment. Imaging tests may be done, including special x-rays and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, which uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a picture of the inside of the body. The
following stages are used for cancer of the oropharynx.
Cancer is found only in cells lining the oropharynx. Stage 0 cancer is also called carcinoma in situ.
The cancer is 2 centimeters (about ¾ inch) or smaller and has not spread outside the
The cancer is larger than 2 centimeters, but not larger than 4 centimeters (about 1½
inches), and has not spread outside the
Stage III is either of the following:
Stage IVA is either of the following:
Stage IVB is either of the following:
In stage IVC, cancer has spread to other parts of the body; the tumor may be any size and may have spread to lymph nodes.
Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has
been treated. It may come back in the oropharynx or in another part of the
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