There are many types of cancer, and you may have nasopharyngeal cancer if malignant cancer cells develop in the tissues of your nasopharynx. The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat located behind your nose.
Symptoms of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
If you have nasopharyngeal cancer, you may show the following symptoms:
- A lump in the neck or nose
- Difficulty breathing or speaking
- Hearing difficulties
- Pain or ringing in the ear
- Sore throat
It’s true that these symptoms may also be caused by other conditions. However, if these symptoms persist then you should see a ENT doctor especially if risk factors apply in your case.
Risk Factors for Nasopharyngeal Cancer
A risk factor is a condition which increases your chances of getting a disease. These risk factors increase the chances that you will develop nasopharyngeal cancer.
- You’re Asian.
- You drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.
- You’ve been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus.
If any of these risk factors are true in your case and you exhibit any of the symptoms, then the chances are greater those symptoms are due to nasopharyngeal cancer.
Procedures and Tools to Diagnose Nasopharyngeal Cancer
The doctor can examine your nose, throat, and other nearby organs to find out if you have nasopharyngeal cancer:
- Physical exam and history. This will include checking for swollen lymph nodes.
- Neurological exam. This checks the brain, spinal cord, and nerve function.
- Biopsy. Cells or tissues are removed to check for signs of cancer under a microscope.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create a series of highly detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
- CT scan (CAT scan). This also creates a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, using a computer linked to an x-ray machine and injected dye to make the tissues and organs show up more clearly in the pictures.
- PET scan (positron emission tomography scan). This finds malignant tumor cells using injected radioactive glucose and a PET scanner creating a picture of where the glucose is in the body. The malignant tumor cells tend to appear brighter in the PET pictures.
- Ultrasound exam. This procedure uses high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) to bounce off the organs in the abdomen. The resulting echoes can form a picture of the body tissues.
- Chest x-ray. The x-ray focus on the organs and bones inside the chest.
- Blood chemistry studies. A blood sample is taken to check for unusual amounts of certain substances.
- Complete blood count (CBC). The blood sample is checked for number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets; the amount of hemoglobin (in the red blood cells; the percentage of red blood cells making up the total blood sample.
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) test. It checks for the presence of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus, which would appear if you’ve been infected with EBV.
- HPV test (human papillomavirus test). It checks if you have an HPV infection, as this can cause nasopharyngeal cancer.
Hearing test. Nasopharyngeal cancer can affect your hearing ability.
For details of the treatment, it is suggested to consult an ENT Specialist.
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