A thorough head and neck examination is performed which includes examination of the oral cavity, the neck and a nasoendoscopy. A panendoscopy and biopsy under general anaesthesia is done in the operating theatre for tissue diagnosis. A fine needle aspiration cytology is also performed of any neck node. Either a computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging (CT or MRI) is done to evaluate the extent of the hypopharyngeal lesion and possible neck node involvement. If the biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of cancer, a CT scan of the thorax and liver is done as part of the staging work-up, looking for distant spread to the lungs or the liver.
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