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Stages of throat cancer
There are 4 stages of throat cancer depending on the size of the cancer and where the cancer has spread to. Be aware that there are 2 ways of staging a cancer.
In stead of focusing on “the number” of your cancer stage, just ask your doctor what he means exactly!
Doctors need to know which stage of throat cancer you have to adjust their cancer treatment accordingly:
- in early stage throat cancers treatment often only involves removing the tumor with surgery
- in later stages when the throat cancer has spread (so called ‘mestastized throat cancer’) chemotherapy and or radiotherapy will be needed to destroy the cancer cells. Often the cancer won’t be killed completely.
Stages of throat cancer according to size
Stage 1 throat cancer
The cancer and is less than one inch and has not spread.
The cancer is between one and two inches and has not spread.
The cancer is more than two inches and has spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck.
Stage 4 throat cancer
The cancer has spread to other tissues, namely the lips and mouth.
The cancer has spread to multiple lymph nodes on the same side of the neck or to one lymph node on the opposite side of the neck, or one lymph node is greater than three inches in diameter.
Stages of esophagus cancer depending to where the cancer has spread
In this type of staging doctors try to have an indication where the cancer has spread or could have spread.
Stage O throat cancer
There is no cancer yet but there is a tumor in the innermost layer of tissue lining the esophagus (also called: ‘carcinoma in situ’).
The tumor is a cancer that has just started to move inside the esophagus. In stage I the cancer has made its way to the next layer of tissue still inside the wall of the esophagus.
- Stage IIA: The cancer is still inside the esophagus but has spread to the muscle or outer wall.
- Stage IIB: The Cancer may have spread to any of the first three layers of the esophagus and to nearby lymph nodes.
In stage III doctors are sure that the cancer has spread to the outer wall of the esophagus and maybe to tissues or lymph nodes nearby.
- Stage IVA: The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, be they nearby or distant.
- Stage IVB: The cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or organs in other parts of the body.
Stages of throat cancer summarized
- the lower the cancer stage, the more chance you have to undergo a successful throat cancer treatment
- when interpreting the stages of throat cancer given by your doctor, always ask exactly what he means.