The type tells you what type of cell the cancer started in. The grade tells you how much the cancer cells look like normal cells. The stage of cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. They all help your doctor decide which treatment you need.
Doctors stage mouth cancers differently to oropharyngeal cancers. Mouth cancers start in different parts of the mouth, including the lips, gums or soft sides of the mouth. Oropharyngeal cancer starts in the oropharynx which is the part of the throat (pharynx) just behind the mouth. It includes tonsil cancer and cancer in the back part of the tongue.
Most mouth and oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell cancers. But there are less common types.
There are 4 main stages in this system (stage 1 - 4). Some doctors also use stage 0.
TNM stands for tumour, node and metastases. It is one of the staging systems doctors use for mouth cancer.
Oropharyngeal cancer starts in the part of the throat (pharynx) just behind the mouth. It includes tonsil cancer and cancer in the back part of the tongue.