Tests and procedures that are used to diagnose hypopharyngeal cancer include:
The stages of hypopharyngeal cancer are numbered 0 through IV.
Stage 0 Cancer is confined only in the lining of the hypopharynx. There is no spread to lymph nodes.
Stage I The tumor is in the hypopharynx and is 2 centimeters (about ½ inch) or smaller in size. There is no spread to lymph nodes.
Stage II The tumor is either larger than 2 centimeters, but not larger than 4 centimeters (between about ½ and 1½ inches), and has not spread to the larynx (voice box), or it is found in more than one area of the hypopharynx or tissues nearby. There is no spread to lymph nodes.
Stage III The tumor is in only one area of the hypopharynx, and is 2 centimeters or smaller in size. The cancer has also spread to a single lymph node on the same side of the neck, and the lymph node is 3 centimeters (just over 1 inch) or smaller. Stage III can also be defined by a tumor that is larger than 4 centimeters (about 1½ inches) or that has spread to the larynx, with or without lymph node spread.
Stage IV This stage is divided into Stage IVA, IVB, and IVC.
Stages IVA and IVB This is an advanced stage in which local disease and/or lymph node disease has spread. The spreading may involve movement from the pharynx into nearby soft tissues, such as the voice box, the thyroid gland, or the carotid artery. Neck disease may have spread to several lymph nodes or very large lymph nodes (over 6 centimeters; between 2 and 2½ inches).
Stage IVC The cancer has spread beyond the hypopharynx to other parts of the body.