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Throat cancer: Symptoms, causes, and treatment
Read more. Presented in partnership with Desjardins. Learn more. Select the text below and copy the link. Stages of oral cancer Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. Stage 0 or carcinoma in situ The cancer is only in the lining of the mouth or lips. Stage 1 The tumour is 2 cm or smaller. Stage 2 The tumour is larger than 2 cm but no more than 4 cm. Stage 3 The tumour is larger than 4 cm or the cancer has spread to one lymph node in the neck on the same side as the tumour and the lymph node is 3 cm or smaller.
Stage 4A The tumour is any size and has grown into any of the following: the bone in the palate or lower jaw a nerve in the lower jaw called the inferior alveolar nerve floor of the mouth skin of the face The cancer may also have spread to 1 or more lymph nodes in the neck, and they are 6 cm or smaller. Stage 4B The tumour has grown into the soft tissues of the cheek such as muscles, nerves or blood vessels, or into the base of the skull, or the tumour is wrapped around the internal carotid artery of the neck.
OR The cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the neck and one is larger than 6 cm or the cancer in a lymph node has grown into the surrounding tissue. Stage 4C The cancer has spread to other parts of the body called distant metastasis , such as to the lungs, liver or bone. Recurrent oral cancer Recurrent oral cancer means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated. First name:. Last name:. Email address:. Phone Number:. Postal code:. Stories Canadian benchmarks for quality of end-of-life care in cancer.
Links to help you Living with cancer Your healthcare team Publications Talk to an information specialist Talk to someone who's been there Connect with our online community Questions to ask. Issues specific to your health include:. Your doctor will help you make an informed decision about which options may be right for you.
What Are the Symptoms of Oropharyngeal Cancer?
Your treatment plan may consist of one or any combination of the following:. Surgery Resources Should surgery be part of your care plan, we are here to help guide you through the process. If surgery provides a good treatment option, you will meet with a surgical oncologist to develop a plan. Surgery for oropharyngeal cancer is different for every patient. Your surgical oncologist cancer surgeon will work with you to determine the least invasive and most effective surgery for the type of oropharyngeal cancer you have. Combining surgery with other treatments To achieve the best possible outcome, your care team may recommend combining surgery with other treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Oral Cancer Facts
The additional treatment can be given 1 of 2 ways:. Drug therapy, also called systemic or medical therapy, is treatment that works throughout the body toeradicate oropharyngeal cancer.. You may receive drug therapy:. Chemotherapy is a treatment option for many oropharyngeal cancers. We are here to help you prepare and guide you through the process. Chemotherapy: This group of medications stops the growth of cancer cells in the body. While powerful, chemotherapy can cause side effects, because it may affect healthy cells.
Chemotherapy is used for selected cases of oropharyngeal cancer, either with radiation therapy, or as a single drug, or in combination with other systemic treatments. Immunotherapy These medications provoke your immune system to attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy treatments are the newest class of anti-cancer drugs. Some of these agents are FDA approved; many others are being tested in clinical trials.
Should immunotherapy be part of your care plan, we are here to help you prepare and guide you through the process. These medications are designed to mimic in some way naturally occuring substances in our body. Targeted therapies slow the growth and spread of cancer by cancer by stimulating the immune system or interfering with specific parts of cancerous cells. Should targeted therapy be part of your care plan, we are here to help you prepare and guide you through the process. Drug therapy scheduling If your treatment plan involves drug therapy, you will have routine visits to have lab work done, see your doctor, and receive medications.
Drug therapy side effects Side effects from drug therapies vary depending on the type of medication you receive. For example, chemotherapy may cause nausea. Target therapy may cause an acne-like rash. Ask your care team — we can help you manage or prevent many symptoms and side effects that can affect your everyday life.
Radiation therapy is painless treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Our radiation oncologists have years of experience safely and effectively treating oropharyngeal cancer with radiation.
Using the latest technology, we can precisely target tumors and minimize damage to nearby healthy tissue. Radiation therapy may provide effective treatment for the type of oropharyngeal cancer you have. If so, your doctor will speak with you about the best options. The types of radiation therapy we use for oropharyngeal cancer treatment at Stanford include:. For oropharyngeal cancer, radiation treatment is typically delivered once per day Monday through Friday for weeks.
Some of the types of external radiation we use include:.
Living as an Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer Survivor
Should radiation therapy be part of your care plan, we are here to help you prepare and guide you through the process. Radiation does not make you radioactive, and you can safely be around other people, including children. The exact number and timing of your radiation treatments depends on the type of oropharyngeal cancer you have and the type of radiation therapy you need:.
Radiation therapy side effects Everyone has a different response to radiation therapy. It may cause short-term side effects during treatment or long-term side effects after treatment ends. The side effects of treatment depend on the type of radiation you receive, the dose, and your overall health. Common side effects that you may experience during radiation for oropharyngeal cancer include:. All attempts are made to limit long term side effects of radiation for head and neck cancer.
However, some changes may persist after radiation treatment, including:. No matter what you experience, your care team can help ease the side effects of treatment. At least once a week, your radiation oncology team will meet with you to discuss your progress and any side effects that you may have. After treatment, you will have regular follow-up visits with your treatment team. At Stanford, our doctors are always working to improve care for people with Oropharyngeal cancer. As an academic medical center, we conduct clinical trials to evaluate new medical techniques, devices, medications, and other treatments for safety and effectiveness.
For Oropharyngeal cancer, we study new approaches to preventing, screening, detecting, diagnosing, and treating Oropharyngeal cancer. Some clinical trials look at new methods, while others evaluate new combinations of approved, existing approaches.
Depending on your individual circumstances, a clinical trial may provide a treatment option for you. Like any treatment, clinical trials have possible risks and benefits, including:. We can help you decide if a clinical trial may be right for you. When cancer is found in the oropharynx, your doctor will study it to assess its biology and stage.
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Factors that determine the stage include the size of the tumor, whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body, and if so, where. Today, there are many drug therapies that specifically target those biological features to help slow or stop the growth of the cancer. Staging the cancer helps your doctor tailor a treatment plan. The stages of oropharyngeal cancer are:. Doctors find abnormal cells on the top layer of throat tissue but they have not spread beyond the place they first formed.
The tumor is no larger than 2 cm across, with no cancer in surrounding tissue or anywhere else in the body. The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm wide but cancer has not spread to nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Although cancer at this stage is typically incurable except in rare cases , it is still treatable. We offer the latest drug therapies medications to help people with stage 4 oropharyngeal cancer live longer and more comfortably. We bring together the right experts to create a care plan tailored to your needs. Our oropharyngeal cancer doctors specialize in several different areas of cancer treatment and work together to create a coordinated and comprehensive plan.
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