Tests to stage mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Stage means how big the cancer is, and whether it has spread to another part of the body. Knowing the stage helps your doctor decide the best treatment for you. The most common place for mouth or oropharyngeal cancer to spread is the lymph nodes in the neck.

You might have one or more of these tests.

CT scan for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

CT scans take pictures of your body to find out where the cancer is and whether it has spread.

MRI scan for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

An MRI scan creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. It can show where cancer is and may show if it has spread.

PET-CT scan for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan. It gives detailed information about your cancer.

Barium swallow for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

You may have a barium swallow if you are having difficulty swallowing solid food. It can help doctors stage mouth and oropharyngeal cancer.

X-rays for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

X-rays use high energy rays to take pictures of the inside of your body. 

Last reviewed: 
27 May 2021
Next review due: 
27 May 2024
Coronavirus and cancer

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