Nasopharyngeal cancer is a cancer located in the nasopharynx, which is located behind the nose and above the back of the mouth.
This area is generally not examined for disease, so it can be a hard to initially diagnose this type of cancer. It is found in Asia much more than in the United States, but there are many treatment options available to combat this illness.
Sensitivity to changes in the nasal and mouth functions are important to catch this cancer quickly while it is in its initial stages.
It is suggested that nasopharyngeal cancer could develop as a result of eating a diet that is rich in salt-cured foods. Additionally, cutting back on smoking and drinking may be able reduce the likelihood of developing this particular illness. If one contracts the Epstein-Barr virus, one should ask to be tested for nasopharyngeal cancer.
The most common symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer is the presence of a lump in the neck. Doctors can check the lump through a biopsy. Other signs for this cancer include having blood in your saliva, headaches, or facial pain. Symptoms can also include having a sore throat, stuffy nose, or difficulty in opening the mouth. The doctor may perform a nasopharyngoscopy which will determine if there is something out of order in your nasopharynx. A flexible tube is place in your mouth or nose which illuminates the nasopharynx; doctors will be able to tell if anything is of concern.
Treatment of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer can be treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy involves taking medication to combat the cancer; radiation therapy involves directing photons at the cancer directly. These two therapies can be mixed together in one treatment plan. The problem is that these treatments might cause unpleasant side effects. Radiation therapy, for example, might cause sores to develop in the mouth. The treatment that is recommended will depend on how fast the cancer is caught. If the cancer is still at the first or second stage, then treatments will be more effective in reducing the cancer’s severity.
Symptoms can appear which will show something to be amiss with the head area. Bloody saliva and headaches should be brought up with a physician. The presence of the Epstein-Barr virus has been linked to nasopharyngeal cancer, so one should test for this cancer if they have EBV.