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Lifestyle Changes For Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer is cancer of the nasopharynx, which is the upper part of the throat behind the nose. It is categorized as a type of head and neck cancer, and it often starts with the squamous cells, which are cells lining the nasopharynx. In terms of prevalence, across the world nasopharyngeal cancer is ranked at number 24, with men being more at risk than women. For patients with this type of cancer, certain lifestyle changes may be essential to improve one’s living standards. This is because cancer can result in difficulties while eating including swallowing, dry mouth, taste changes, and weight loss. In addition to that, some lifestyle habits may lead to worsening of the condition, therefore need to be avoided at all cost.[1] [2] [3]

Lifestyle Changes For Nasopharyngeal Cancer

What Are The Necessary Lifestyle Changes For Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

Due to the location of the nasopharyngeal, which cuts across the throat, nose, and ears, it is more than likely you will experience problems with these parts. Needless say, as cancer metastasizes, it can spread to nearby areas including the trachea, esophagus and even the small intestines. Radiotherapy treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer can result in a very sore throat, hence difficulties when swallowing. Also, surgical procedures to remove the malignant growth of the nasopharyngeal can result in difficulties when swallowing, meaning eating will be problematic.

Weight loss in cancer patients is common among several types of cancers. In the case of nasopharyngeal cancer, weight loss may occur due to problems with eating as a result of a sore/paining throat. Nevertheless, you need to stay healthy and strong. Therefore, you had a need to find an alternative way of keeping your weight in good check, by considering a soft diet to make feeding easier. A soft diet consists of soft foods such as soups, jelly, egg dishes including omelet or scrambled egg, meat or vegetable stews and sauces, and pasta. For dessert, include full-fat yogurt, bread and butter pudding, mousse, cheesecake, homemade trifle, milk puddings, fruit purees, and sorbet. To manage a dry mouth due to nasopharyngeal cancer, you can try out artificial moisteners or stimulants for your glands, or rather just carry water with you.[3] [4]

There are two major factors that increase the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer. That is tobacco including cigarettes, pipes, and snuffs, as well as frequent alcohol consumption. Tobacco is the greatest risk factor and has been linked to 85% of cases of head and neck cancer. Combining the two – alcohol and tobacco – is even worse as the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer is greatly increased. So, avoid alcohol and tobacco at all cost, so as to minimize the risk of cancer and further complications. Marijuana has also been associated with a higher risk of head and neck cancer, so you should also avoid it to be on the safe side. Additionally, do not eat salt-cured fish and meats as they also increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.[5]

Nasopharyngeal Cancer Survivorship

Every patient has different survivorship to cancer including nasopharyngeal cancer. There are those whose diagnosis will be better than others, respond better to treatment, and there are those who survive cancer while others do not make it. Survivorship is unique to each individual patient and thus different to each and every one of them. Living with cancer will require constant doctor visits to determine progress and any new developments. Therefore, as a way of effectively coping with cancer, you had a need to understand the challenges you are facing, available solutions, support from those around you and being comfortable with the course of action you choose.

Recovering from nasopharyngeal cancer will require several positive lifestyle modifications including the ideal diet, what to avoid, as well as exercising and managing stress levels. Exercising regularly will help with rebuilding strength and keeping your energy levels up. However, in case of fatigue, do not push your body beyond its limits. You can inquire from your physician an exercise plan which will be tailored for your needs and capabilities.[6]


If you are suffering from nasopharyngeal cancer you will need to make various adjustments with your lifestyle. Basically, you should avoid anything, and everything that causes cancer, or which will worsen it. Additionally, you will need special nutrition to keep your body healthy and strong throughout the treatment period.[7]


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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 30, 2021

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