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What Are The Ways To Prevent Nasopharyngeal Cancer & Does It Reoccur?

Nasopharyngeal cancer can be attributed to several causative factors including tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption & Epstein – Barr virus (EBV), and eating certain types of foods as well as genetic composition. Some of these factors in particular EBV and genetic makeup cannot be controlled, thus it is difficult to prevent oneself from developing the cancer in such instances.[1] In terms of recurrence, according to a study conducted on the relapse of nasopharyngeal cancer that involved 351 patients, 93.5% of them had a local recurrence of the tumor. From this statistic, we can deduce that the probability of cancer relapsing is higher.[2] Other than that, individuals who’ve been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer are at risk of developing second cancer, completely unrelated to their initial one.[3]

What Are The Ways To Prevent Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

What Are The Ways To Prevent Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

If there is a possibility you can prevent yourself from any ailment, nasopharyngeal cancer included, it is wise to take the easier way out. Furthermore, prevention is better than cure. Individuals with risk factors i.e. use of tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol and consumption of foods which increase the likelihood of nasopharyngeal cancer can prevent themselves from cancer by avoiding the aforementioned factors. In other words, if you are a tobacco user and at risk of developing cancer, then avoid the tobacco at all cost. Similarly, if you are used to drinking excessively, drink responsibly or otherwise quit drinking for good.

Foods associated with nasopharyngeal cancer include salt-cured fish and meats. So, avoid these foods and consider eating a healthier diet that comprises of nutritious foods. Although some nasopharyngeal cancer cases have been associated with Epstein – Barr virus infections, not everyone with EBV will develop cancer. The reason as to why some individuals develop nasopharyngeal cancer when they have EBV and others do not is unclear, however, research is underway to determine this relationship. In any case, it is believed that it could be as a result of genetic material from the virus attacks cells of the nasopharyngeal.[4]

Reoccurrence Of Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Local of nasopharyngeal cancer after first radiation treatment is probable. As much as treatment is supposed to repress cancer, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of developing cancer again. One could have a local recurrence of the same type of cancer or develop an entirely new type of cancer. For individuals who’ve been diagnosed and treated for nasopharyngeal cancer, they are at risk of developing the following second cancers. They include; cancer of the tongue, cancer of the nose and nasal cavity, esophagus cancer, as well as bone and joint cancer in particular of the jawbone.[3]

In the study on relapse of nasopharyngeal cancer after conventional irradiation on 351 patients, some of the common characteristics of recurred nasopharyngeal cancer include the following symptoms; nasal bloody discharge, headaches, and higher staging of cancer. Clearly, recurred nasopharyngeal cancer is a more serious situation as it brings about more complications. Those with longer latency at reception are at a higher risk of frequent complications.[2]

Management Of Nasopharyngeal Cancer

The basic treatment for managing nasopharyngeal cancer involves a devised treatment plan between you and your doctor. This is usually based on several factors which may be inclusive of the stage of cancer, overall health, treatment goals, and possible side effects from the treatment. Radiation therapy is the initial treatment protocol for nasopharyngeal cancer, and it can either be followed by chemotherapy, or both administered at the same time. For small-sized tumors, radiation may be the only treatment option considered. On the other hand, in case of more advanced cases chemotherapy, as well as surgery may be considered to remove the tumor on the nasopharyngeal. Surgery is also considered when nearby regions i.e. the lymph nodes have been affected.


In general, many nasopharyngeal cancer cases cannot be prevented as they have no risk factors. Also, even in cases when risk factors are involved, some of them cannot be controlled. Regardless, not eating salt-cured fish and meats, avoiding alcohol and tobacco could go a long way in reducing the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer. As for the recurrence of cancer, the best way to arm yourself is through follow-up care for constant monitoring and staying healthy. If cancer does relapse, seek treatment for cancer to be managed as best as possible.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 30, 2021

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