Nasopharyngeal Cancer Stages
Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. Stage 0 describes the early signs of disease and Stage 4 indicates an advanced case.
Learning what stage your cancer is in helps you and your doctor make decisions about your treatment plan. This information also helps your doctor determine your prognosis (probable outcome based on the experience of others).
Stage 0: Abnormal cells are in the lining of the nasopharynx. They may turn into cancer and spread into nearby tissue. This stage is also called carcinoma in situ, which means “in its original place.”
Stage 1: A cancerous tumor is in the nasopharynx and may have grown into the oropharynx (the part of the throat behind the mouth), nasal cavity, or both.
Stage 2: Cancer is in the nasopharynx and may have spread to the oropharynx, nasal cavity, and lymph nodes on one side of the neck or behind the throat. Sometimes, there is no tumor in the nasopharynx but cancer cells in the neck’s lymph nodes are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus, which is likely to be NPC.
Stage 3: In addition to the conditions in stage 2, the tumor may be larger and may have spread to lymph nodes on both sides of the neck or behind the throat. Or, the cancer may have grown into nearby bones or sinuses and may or may not be present in lymph nodes.
Stage 4: This stage is divided into several substages, each describing how the cancer has spread to nearby or distant parts of the body.
Recurrent nasopharyngeal cancer
Recurrent nasopharyngeal cancer is cancer that has come back after being treated. The cancer may return in the nasopharynx or in other parts of the body.