Everything About Nasopharyngeal Cancer – Symptoms and Treatment
The nasopharynx is the very beginning portion of the throat and is located right behind the nose. Nasopharyngeal cancer is one of the rarest forms of head and neck cancer and is also referred to as nasopharyngeal carcinoma or NPC.
To this date there is no direct reason why or how nasopharyngeal cancer occurs but scientists have linked its occurrence with the Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV. Just about everyone is infected with EBV but normally the immune systems help deal with this. It is when the infection gets out of control that scientists suspect nasopharyngeal cancer to arise. It is more prominent in males younger than 55 and is a higher risk for people who constantly consume alcohol and tobacco.
Symptoms of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
These symptoms also occur in many other diseases which, is why they may not immediately point to nasopharyngeal cancer. However, if any of these signs and symptoms are experienced it is better to seek immediate medical diagnosis to ensure whether or not the patient has developed NPC.
Diagnosis of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer is diagnosed through several imaging procedures as well as an initial physical check-up. The imaging techniques used in determining the type, size, aggressiveness, and spread of the cancer are:
EBV testing as well as CBC (complete blood count) tests may also be conducted to check if there is a possibility of the patient developing NPC.
Risk Factors of Throat Cancer
Constant tobacco use, alcohol use, occurrence of the EBV or the Epstein-Barr Virus, as well as poor nutrition brought by a poor diet can increase the risks and dangers of nasopharyngeal cancer developing.
Surgery can cure nasopharyngeal cancer if it the location and size of the cancer allows it to be completely removed. Unfortunately, due to the area of nasopharyngeal cancer, the function of the eyes, nose, and facial nerve are always at risk. There are cases where the eyes are surgically removed in order to remove the cancer and stop metastasis.
Chemotherapy is also paired with several other drugs to prevent the cancer from growing. Chemotherapy is an aggressive treatment that chemically kills cancer cells and is often used to reduce the size of the cancer until it is opt for surgery.
Palliative treatment is given to patients where surgery is no longer viable. Since the cancer is now fatal, palliative treatment will increase the quality of life for the patient.
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