Staging of head and neck cancers is dependent on the type and location of the cancer. So, a laryngeal cancer is staged differently than a thyroid cancer.  However, all the cancer subtypes and locations are staged using the TNM system. This stands for tumor size (T), lymph node status (N), and distant metastasis or spread (M). Using the results of exams and tests, the TNM system identifies a stage for the cancer based on:

  • How large the tumor is and where it’s located
  • Whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, or metastasized

Armed with this information, your healthcare provider is best able to customize your treatment to your stage.