During diagnosis, doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. If you feel that you have any new persistent symptoms around your mouth or throat area which doesn't go away or even if you have a persistent cough for long, your doctor may need to examine your throat.
Endoscopy procedure may be recommended to get a closer look at your throat.
Alternatively, your doctor may use a laryngoscope to perform a Laryngoscopy that lets him look at the back of your throat, voice box and vocal cords.
If you aren't comfortable with these procedures, the doctors can give you a local anesthetic. If there are any abnormalities found in your throat during diagnosis, a tissue sample would be removed and sent to laboratory for testing.
If your doctor diagnoses cancerous cells in your throat, the next step is to know the exact stage of the cancer. It will only help in evaluating right treatment options at the right time.
How are the throat cancer stages determined?
Throat cancer can be staged using the TNM system where,
Tumor (T) gives the size of the original tumor. From this we can determine how far the cancer is spread
Node (N) describes whether the cancer is present in the lymph nodes.
Metastasis (M) refers to spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.
With all the above information, numbers (0-4) is assigned to characterize the different stages of cancer, where the number four indicates that the severity is high.