Salivary Gland Cancer

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Staging

Staging

If your tumor is cancer, your doctor will try to determine the stage. The stage reflects how large the tumor is, whether it has spread and, if it has, how far. There is a specific staging system only for major salivary gland tumors. (Tumors arising in minor salivary glands are often staged in the same manner as for the more common epithelial, or squamous cell, tumors arising in the same location.)

Stage I: The tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters (cm) in diameter. It is only within the salivary gland. It is not invading nearby tissue, and it has not spread anywhere else.

Stage II: The tumor is between 2 cm and 4 cm. It is only within the salivary gland. It is not invading nearby tissue, and it has not spread anywhere else.

Stage III: This stage applies in either of these cases:

  • The tumor is larger than 4 cm and/or is invading nearby tissue and possibly one lymph node that is less than 3 cm in size and is located on the same side of the neck as the tumor, but it has not spread anywhere else in the body.
  • The tumor is less than 4 cm and has spread to one lymph node that is less than 3 cm in size and is located on the same side of the neck as the tumor, but it has not spread anywhere else in the body.

Stage IVA: This stage applies in either of these cases:

  • The tumor is 6 cm or larger in size. It may or may not have spread to nearby tissue, including invading the facial nerve, and to one lymph node that is less than 3 cm in size and is located on the same side of the neck as the tumor, but it has not spread anywhere else in the body.
  • The tumor is any size, and it has spread to nearby tissue, including invading the facial nerve, and to one or more lymph nodes that are less than 3 cm in size, and are located on either side of the neck.

Stage IVB: This stage applies in either of these cases:

  • The tumor is larger than 6 cm in size or has spread to the skull bones, has surrounded the carotid artery, and/or has invaded the facial nerve. It may have spread to multiple lymph nodes on either side of the neck.
  • The tumor is any size, may have spread to adjacent tissues, and has spread to at least one lymph node that is greater than 6 cm in size.

Stage IVC: The tumor is any size and has spread to distant sites in the body. It may also have spread to nearby tissue and lymph nodes.