What are the Stages of head and neck cancer?
The various types of head and neck cancers discussed in the earlier sections can be divided into five stages according to the extent and intensity of cancer. The type of treatment administered depends on the stage of Head and Neck Cancer that the patient is in. These Head and Neck Cancer stages, along with possible treatments for them are explained below.

Stage 0:
At this stage, abnormal cells are found in the lining of the nasopharynx, larynx, hypopharynx, salivary ducts, lips, and oral cavity or that of the mucous membranes depending on the specific type of cancer. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ. The treatment is usually Surgery to remove the tumorous cells. Possible side effects of Surgery may include permanent change of voice, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty breathing, and disfigurement of the part that has been removed. The 5 year relative survival rate is 92% in such cases.

Stage 1:
Cancer gets progressed into the primary organ such as the nasopharynx, the larynx, the hypopharynx, the lip, nasal cavity, sinus, or the salivary gland and is generally larger than 2 cm. For stage 1 tumors, Surgery is followed by Radiation therapy. Possible side effects of Radiation therapy may include loss of appetite, speech impairment, hypothyroidism, fatigue, nausea, and sore mouth or throat. The 5-year survival rate is between 77 and 99.9 percent.

Stage 2:
The tumor is between 2 and 4 cm large and progress further in this stage, into one or more lymph nodes near the primary organ such as the throat, epiglottis, neck, vocal cords, tongue, soft tissues around the salivary glands, jawbones, skull or the roof of the mouth on the same side as the primary tumor. To deal with stage 2 head and neck cancers, first, the patient must undergo surgery, followed by radiation therapy, and, in some cases, Chemotherapy is also needed. Possible side effects of Chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and infection. The survival rate is around 65 percent in such cases.

Stage 3:
More lymph nodes are affected including the ones on the opposite side of the primary organs and cancer has spread to more organs such as the bottom skull, neck, nearby muscles, larynx, the roof of the mouth, parts of the tongue, tissues under the skin, nearby jawbones, ear canal, and the trachea, depending on the primary type of Head and Neck Cancer. The tumor is generally larger than 4 cm. The prescribed treatment is usually a combination of surgery, radiation, and Chemotherapy. The survival rate of Stage 3 treatment is around 25 percent.

Stage 4:
The tumor has now spread further into the body affecting organs that are far from the primary organ. The 5 year Relative survival rate may be around 52 percent. Stage 4 cancer can be further classified into stage 4A, stage 4B, and stage 4C. They are explained below.
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Get a complete brief of head and neck cancer, including the types, causes, risk factors, treatment methods, life in remission, and diagnosis and prevention methods.