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Tests to stage

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

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

MRI scan

Get more information on what an MRI scan is, how you have it and what happens afterwards.

PET-CT scan

Find out what a PET- CT scan is, how you have it and what happens after it.

Barium swallow

Read about what to expect when having a barium swallow test.


Find out about x-rays for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer including what they are and how you have them.

Last reviewed: 
09 May 2018
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer