After diagnosis, doctors assign a stage of oropharyngeal cancer, oftentimes a number or number and letter combination that indicates the severity of the condition, size of the tumor and location of the cancer. The National Cancer Institute indicates these are the stages of oropharyngeal and oral cancer:
- Stage I and II – These are the early stages of cancer where the tumor is smaller than a walnut and the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage III and Stage IV – These advanced stages of cancer indicates the tumor is larger (can be as big as a lime), and may have spread (metastasized) to nearby or far away tissue, bone, muscle and the lymph nodes.
Depending on a patient’s condition, doctors then use the stage of orpharyngeal cancer to recommend a treatment plan. Oncologists at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute work with patients to develop an individualized treatment plan to fit the patient’s treatment goals, condition, health and needs.