Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital

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Diagnosis

Tests and procedures that are used to diagnose hypopharyngeal cancer include:

  • Physical examination - Diagnosing hypopharyngeal carcinoma usually begins with a general examination. Doctors check for swollen lymph nodes in the neck and look down the throat with a small mirror to check for anything unusual.
  • Endoscopy — This procedure uses a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the nose or mouth to check for anything unusual.
  • CT scan (also called computed tomography or computerized tomography) — This scan takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The images are created by a computer that is linked to an X-ray machine.
  • MRI (also called magnetic resonance imaging) — This procedure uses radio waves and a powerful magnet, linked to a computer, to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
  • Esophagoscopy — This procedure looks inside the esophagus to check for unusual areas. An esophagoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus. Tissue samples might be taken for biopsy. This is usually done under general anesthesia or heavy sedation.
  • Bronchoscopy — This procedure looks for unusual areas inside the trachea and large airways of the lung. A bronchoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the nose or mouth into the trachea and lungs. Tissue samples might be taken for biopsy. This is usually done under general anesthesia or heavy sedation.
  • Biopsy — In this procedure, tissue samples are removal and viewed under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.

Stages of hypopharyngeal cancer

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.

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