Nasopharyngeal Cancer When healthy cells in the body alter and expand out of control, they form a tumor, mass, or tissue growth. Tumors can be malignant or benign and a malignant tumor has the potential to develop and spread to other parts of the body. The term “benign tumor” refers to a tumor that can generate but not spread like malignant cancer.
There are various types of tissue in the nasopharynx, and each tissue has different cells, each of which can grow into a distinct cancer. For example, many types of nasopharyngeal carcinoma have white blood cells called lymphocytes. As a result, lymphoepithelioma is a malignancy named after these cells.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a cancer in which malignant (cancer) cells originate in the nasopharyngeal mucosa. Nasopharyngeal cancer risk is influenced by ethnicity and exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus. Nasopharyngeal cancer is diagnosed and staged using tests that evaluate the nose, throat, and adjacent organs.
Early detection of nasopharyngeal cancer is quite challenging. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of the two is commonly used to treat nasopharyngeal cancer. The patients can consult the doctor to determine the best course of action for their case.
Nasopharyngeal Cancer Epidemiology
In various parts of the world, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an uncommon cancer, with an incidence rate of less than 1-2 per 100,000 people per year. The survival rate of nasopharyngeal cancer is about 87% over five years.
Nasopharyngeal Cancer Pathophysiology
This process starts in the squamous cells that coat the nasopharyngeal surface in nasopharyngeal carcinomas. The exact etiology of the gene alterations that lead to nasopharyngeal carcinoma is unknown, while variables that raise the risk of the malignancy have been found, such as the Epstein-Barr virus.
Types of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
The following are the different types of nasopharyngeal cancer:
- Keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma
- Nonkeratinizing squamous cell carcinoma
- Undifferentiated or poorly differentiated carcinoma (lymphoepithelioma and anaplastic variants)
Risk Factors of
Over usage of the following can lead to a significant risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer:
- Chewing tobacco
- Consuming a high level of salt-cured meats and seafood can cause nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Normal cells expand out of control, invade neighbouring cells, and eventually spread to other body parts when one or more genetic mutations occur.
- The exact etiology of the gene alterations that lead to nasopharyngeal carcinoma is unknown. Variables that increase the risk of malignancy have been found, such as the Epstein-Barr virus. However, it's unclear why some people with all the risk factors never get cancer, whereas others who have none can get cancer.
Signs or Symptoms of
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer:
- Blurred vision
- Sore throat
- Breathing problems
- Ear infections
- Hearing difficulties
- Nasal blockage
Diagnosis and Tests for
Physicians perform the following tests and procedures:
- Physical examination and monitoring health history
- Neurological examination
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- CT scan
- PET scan (positron emission tomography scan)
- Ultrasound examination
- Chest x-ray
- Blood chemistry studies
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) test
- Hearing test
Possible Treatment of
Some of the possible treatments for nasopharyngeal cancer include:
- Radiation therapy: Physicians can suggest to undergo the following radiation therapy: external-beam radiation therapy, proton therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, or brachytherapy.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapeutic regimen can include chemotherapy treatment followed by radiotherapy.
- Surgery can be performed to remove the lymph nodes.
The following preventions can be helpful:
- Avoid eating more salted foods.
- Avoid tobacco usage.
Expected Prognosis of
The following factors influence the prognosis and treatment options:
- The tumor’s size is measured in millimeters, and it depends upon the cancer’s stage and if it has progressed to one or more lymph nodes in the neck.
- A high level of EBV antibodies and EBV-DNA indicators in the blood before and after therapy.
Possible Complication of
Some of the complications of nasopharyngeal cancer include the following:
- Cranial nerve palsies
- Hearing loss
- Radiation necrosis of lobes
- Salivary gland
- Atrophy Fibrosis
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