Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your medical history. They will examine you and might arrange one or more tests.
You usually have a nasendoscopy to look at the inside of your nose and back of your throat if you have symptoms of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. Most people usually have a biopsy of any abnormal areas.
If your only symptom is a swollen lymph node in your neck you might have a biopsy of the lymph node.
After being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer, you have further tests to find out its size and whether it has spread. This tells you the stage of your cancer. The stage helps your doctor to decide the best treatment for you.
To diagnose mouth or oropharyngeal cancer your specialist takes a sample of tissue from the affected area. This is called a biopsy.
You may have cells or a tissue sample taken from the lymph nodes in your neck. This is to see if there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
You might have some blood tests to check your general health.
CT scans take pictures of your body to find out where the cancer is and whether it has spread.
An MRI scan creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. It can show where cancer is and may show if it has spread.
X-rays use high energy rays to take pictures of the inside of your body.
You may have a barium swallow if you are having difficulty swallowing solid food. It can help doctors stage mouth and oropharyngeal cancer.
A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan. It gives detailed information about your cancer.