The staging system of head and neck cancer is a Tumor-Node-Metastases system that was developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The stage of the head and neck cancer defines the extent of the lesion and is determined by physical examination, radiologic studies, and pathologic examination. Accurate staging of head and neck cancer is critical since it will determine the treatment modalities used to cure the disease. Recent advances in the field of molecular genetics have allowed clinicians to detect occult cancer cells previously missed by physical examination and standard histopathologic techniques. Molecular assays are 500 times more sensitive in identifying cancer cells than standard techniques and provide more objective analyses with fewer sampling errors. Consequently, these techniques are currently being used to perform molecular staging of head and neck cancer patients. Preliminary results show that molecular staging will accurately identify those patients at significantly increased risk for recurrence of their head and neck cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research