Staging of head and neck cancer
The stage of a cancer is a term used to describe its size and whether it has spread beyond its original site. Knowing the extent of the cancer helps the doctors decide on the best treatment for you.
The staging of the different types of head and neck cancers are all slightly different. Your doctor or nurse can give you more details about the stage of your cancer.
The most common method for staging cancers of the head and neck is the TNM staging system.
- T describes the size of the t umour.
- N describes whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and which nodes are involved. For example, N0 means that no lymph nodes are affected, while N1 means there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
- M describes if the cancer has spread to another part of the body. For example, M0 means the cancer hasn’t spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body.