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How is oropharyngeal cancer diagnosed?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

When diagnosing oropharyngeal cancer, the doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam with attention to the head, neck, mouth, and throat. During the exam, the doctor may use a small mirror with a long handle to better see the inside of your throat. An endoscope, a long, thin, flexible tube with a light, is also useful for seeing the throat. Imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) can be used to see structures inside your body. The doctor may also take a biopsy, which is a small sample of cells that can be examined under a microscope.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.