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Oropharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options by Stage

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.

Stage I Oropharyngeal Cancer

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Treatment of stage I oropharyngeal cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage II Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage II oropharyngeal cancer may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy (external radiation therapy and/or internal radiation therapy).
  • Surgery.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage III Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage III oropharyngeal cancer may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy. Chemotherapy also may be given at the same time as radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy (external radiation therapy with or without internal radiation therapy) for cancers of the base of the tongue or tonsil that cannot be removed by surgery.
  • Chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by surgery or radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III oropharyngeal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV Oropharyngeal Cancer

Treatment of stage IV oropharyngeal cancer that can be removed by surgery may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy. Chemotherapy also may be given to patients at high risk for the cancer to come back.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by surgery.

Treatment of stage IV oropharyngeal cancer that cannot be removed by surgery may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy (external radiation therapy with or without internal radiation therapy) for cancers that cannot be removed by surgery, such as cancers of the base of the tongue or tonsil.
  • Chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy (when surgery would cause a loss of function).
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy with radiation therapy and/or radiosensitization.
  • A clinical trial of hyperthermia therapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy followed by surgery.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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