Nasopharynx (Nose) Cancer

More commonly known as nose cancer, Nasopharynx Cancer (NPC) highlights the abnormal growth of tissue within the nasopharynx, an area behind the nose just above the mouth and throat, causing a tumour to develop when the cells divide uncontrollably and produce extra tissue. NPC can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Causes
The exact cause of NPC is unknown but there are several factors that contribute to an increasing chance of NPC such as:

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is a common viral infection and usually results in mild symptoms such as fever and sore throat. EBV infection has been linked to NPC development as the virus has been found in nearly all NPC cells. However, EBV infection on its own is not enough to cause NPC. NPC is also common in Chinese (especially Cantonese) people, and in particular in men aged between 20 and 50 years.

NPC has also been linked to certain dietary habits. For instance NPC is very common in areas of Asia, northern Africa, and the arctic region. These areas are characterised by diets that are high in salts, cured fish and meat.

Tobacco smoking.
Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of NPC might include:

Blocked nose and stuffiness
Blood-stained sputum from the nose and throat
Blurry vision
Difficulty speaking or breathing
Difficulty swallowing
Earache or ear discharge
Fatigue
Hearing loss or tinnitus (ear ringing), usually affecting one side only
Hoarseness
Lumps in the neck or on the nose
Persistent sore throat
Recurrent headaches
Recurrent nosebleeds
Unexplained weight loss
Treatment
Gleneagles Hospitals offers different available treatment options for NPC. Our ENT specialists will evaluate and diagnose your condition in order to accurately prescribe the appropriate course of treatment depending on your stage of NPC and overall health. Treatments may include:

Chemotherapy using one or a combination of toxic drugs that circulate in the bloodstream and kill rapidly growing cells, including healthy ones. It also alleviates the symptoms of NPC.

Neck dissection, if the NPC has spread to neighbouring lymph nodes, in order to remove cancerous lymph nodes, after resection of the primary tumour

Radiation therapy, the most commonly used form of treatment of NPC. This treatment is delivered in different ways:

Brachytherapy, which uses thin metal rods containing radioactive materials to deliver radiation to cancer cells

Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), a radiation method that allows the precise and computer-guided delivery of radiation beams to kill cancer cells, while sparing surrounding healthy tissues

Radiotherapy or external energy beams can be used to kill cancer cells and alleviate symptoms of NPC.

Surgery to remove nasopharyngeal tumours for the minority of NPC cases that do not respond to radiation therapy

Our Specialists

Dr. Jayendran Dharmaratnam
Specialty
Oncology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu

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