Once it is confirmed that you have throat cancer, your doctor will determine the stage of the tumor; Staging is very important to determine the prognosis and the treatment you should undergo. In general, the stage of a throat cancer is determined from its size and degree of spread within your body.
The stage of throat cancer is often identified by Roman numerals: I, II, III and IV. A higher stage indicates lower chances of survival.
- Carcinoma in situ – the cancer has not invaded the tissue of your throat; your surgeon can remove the tumor without causing physiological damage;
- Stage I – the tumor has invaded the tissue of the throat, but has not spread into surrounding tissue.
- Stage II – at stage 2, the cancer has invaded surrounding tissue, but has remained in the region of the throat.
- Stage III – the cancer has spread beyond the surrounding tissues to reach nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IV – at this final stage, the tumor has not only invaded the nearby lymph nodes but also distant sites in the body such as the lungs.