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Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

What is Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma?

Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that starts in the upper part of throat, behind the nose. This area is known as nasopharynx. It is quite difficult to detect this cancer as this region is tough to examine and the symptoms are same as other common conditions. 

What are the causes of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma?

Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma occurs when there are genetic mutations in the body causing the abnormal growth of cells that invade the surrounding structures and then spread to nearby regions. The exact cause to these genetic mutations is yet not known but it is believed that Epstein-Barr virus may be responsible for it. Other risk factors include:

  • Diet rich in salt-cured fish and meat
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol consumption 
What are the symptoms of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma?

The signs and symptoms of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma are:

  • A lump in your neck/nose
  • Blood in your saliva
  • Nose bleeding
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision problems
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Headaches 
How can Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma be treated?

Treatment for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma depends on the size & location of tumor, health of patient and stage of cancer. Depending on this, doctors might suggest:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combination of both
  • Surgery (in rare cases to remove cancerous lymph node in neck or to remove tumor)