Background “Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC)” is a kind of tumor of the upper respiratory or digestive system that differs from other malignant neoplasms in terms of epidemiology, genesis, histopathologic characteristics, therapy, and prognosis.
Recent studies have shown the benefits of intensive multimodality therapy for advanced NPC.
The nasopharynx connects the mouth and nose and is the topmost section of the throat. It allows air to go from the nose through the throat and finally to the lungs.
The Eustachian tubes (also known as the auditory tubes) link the neck to the ears and are located within the nasopharynx. The cells that make up the nasopharynx can become cancerous if they grow out of control and form lesions or tumours.
Nasopharyngeal Cancer Expert Care
The nasopharynx is the top region of the throat and is placed slightly below the nose, above the soft palate (mouth roof). Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a form of head and neck cancer that begins in the nasopharynx.
Squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that line the nasopharynx, are where most nasopharyngeal malignancies start. These cells also make up the top layer of skin and other bodily structures including the lungs and oesophagus.
We have teams of surgeons, physicians, nurses, and other specialists that specialise in treating head and neck malignancies at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists), radiation and medical oncologists, oral and reconstructive surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and speech pathologists make up our nasopharyngeal cancer treatment team.
What’s Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC)?
Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) is a kind of throat cancer that develops in the nasopharynx, which is the highest section of the throat and is located in or behind the nose.
When cells become aberrant, grow out of control, and have the ability to spread to other regions of the body, cancer develops. As a result, a mass of cells forms (or lump).
The mucosal lining of the region behind the nasal passages and above the back of the throat is where nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) develops.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is closely linked to NPC, however the specific causative relationship between EBV and NPC is unknown. Despite the fact that most people are infected with EBV, only a tiny percentage (1/100,000) develops NPC.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is caused by an unknown factor, according to experts. However, there are other risk factors that might enhance your chances of getting the condition, such as:
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
Mononucleosis is caused by the same virus. In those who have been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer, EBV is quite frequent. Despite the fact that the two diseases are linked, not everyone who has EBV will get nasopharyngeal cancer.
Foods that have been Salt-Cured
Diets heavy in salt-cured meat and fish increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
Although nasopharyngeal cancer can strike anybody at any age, it is most typically detected in adults aged 30 to 50.
People residing in Southeast Asia, southern China, and northern Africa are more likely to get nasopharyngeal cancer. People who have come to the United States from Asia are at a higher risk than Asians who were born in the United States.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is three times as common in males than in women.
You are more likely to acquire nasopharyngeal cancer if you have a family member who has it.
A lump in the upper portion of the neck is often the initial symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer. Other symptoms and indicators to look out for are:
- A enlarged lymph node in your neck causes a bump.
- Saliva with blood.
- Nasal discharge that seems to be bloody.
- Ear ringing or nasal congestion.
- Auditory impairment.
- Ear infections on a regular basis.
- Throat infection.
- Neck swell-ups.
- Headaches that last for a long time.
- Clogging of the nose (a blocked nose).
- Tenderness in the face.
- Auditory changes.
- Otosclerosis (ear ringing).
Points to Remember
- Nasopharyngeal cancer is a disorder in which malignant (cancerous) cells originate in the nasopharyngeal tissues.
- Ethnicity and exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus can both increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Nasopharyngeal cancer symptoms include difficulty breathing, speaking, or hearing.
- Basic research into the genetic, epigenomic, and immunological landscapes of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) has paved the way for translational research into new treatment targets and diagnostics for the disease.
- Chemoradiotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for locoregionally progressed NPC; induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy is the new gold standard in this illness.
- Advances in radiation, such as arc-based intensity-modulated methods, proton therapy, adaptive radiotherapy planning, and artificial intelligence integration, have all led to better treatment results in recent decades.
Diagnosis (Nose Cancer)
Your doctor will examine your signs and symptoms to see whether they indicate malignancy. A battery of tests may be required if nasopharyngeal carcinoma is suspected.
Nasendoscopy is one method of detecting nasal cancer. This procedure includes inserting a long, thin, flexible tube into the nose to examine the tissues at the back of the nose for abnormal growths.
Any worrisome lesions have a tissue sample (biopsy) obtained and evaluated under a microscope for cancer cells.
A tissue sample of the lump in the neck may also be taken to be tested for cancer cells if there is one. Local anaesthetic is used to make this procedure painless.
Test of the Blood
NPC is occasionally detected through a blood test that detects specific Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies.
If cancer is found, extra tests will be performed to see if it has spread. A complete physical examination, blood tests, chest x-rays, head and neck scans, as well as a bone scan and liver scans, are all examples of diagnostic testing.
The type of therapy you receive is determined by various factors, including the location of the cancer, its size, and whether it has spread (stage), as well as your overall health.
The benign growth will most likely be removed endoscopically if no malignancy is identified. Angiofibroma, hemangioma, or salivary gland tumour are all possibilities.
Even if the tumour seems to be benign, it is suggested that it be removed since many of these tumours can develop to great proportions, obstructing and injuring adjacent tissues.
If cancer is found, it is usually treated with a mix of chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery, on the other hand, may be required, especially if the tumour is recurring.