is a form of cancer which affects the mouth. The staging of cancer is done to determine how big the cancer is and if it has developed further and spread to the surrounding tissues or organs. There are four stages of mouth cancer – stages 1 to 4. Several doctors also consider a stage 0:

Stage 0

or carcinoma in situ (CIS): It is also referred to as a ‘pre cancer’ stage. In this, the cancerous cells are contained within the mouth’s lining. If this is not treated on time, it may grow into an invasive cancer.

Stage 1:

This is the earliest stage of mouth cancer. In this, the cancer begins to grow through the tissues which line the mouth.

Stage 2:

In this stage, the tumor grows more than 2 cm wide, but is less than 4cm.

Stage 3:

In this stage, the cancer is either bigger than 4cm but has not spread to any other part of the body or it is of any size but has spread to any one lymph node lying on the same side of the neck as the cancer.

Stage 4:

This is an advanced stage of the disease. It has 3 stages-

Stage 4a:

The cancer grows through the tissues surrounding the mouth. The lymph nodes may or may not have cancerous cells.

Stage 4b:

The cancer grows further and spreads to more than 1 lymph node on the same side of the neck as the cancer, or to the lymph nodes on both sides of the neck.

Stage 4c:

The cancer spreads to other parts of the body such as the or lungs.