Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the nasopharynx. It is a part that lies behind the nose and just above the throat. This cancer is characterized by painless tumors that cause symptoms like breathing problems, tinnitus, hearing loss, numbness in the face, and many more. Its exact cause is not known. It can be caused by EBV infection, genetic mutation, salt-cured fish, and many more. It affects males more than females. It can be treated successfully with radiation therapy in the early stages. In advance stages, chemotherapy is preferred to treat the tumors in combination with radiation therapy.

Advertisement

What Is The Best Treatment For Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

The best treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer may be –

Radiotherapy- radiotherapy is the most common treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer. It is the best and most effective way to treat nasopharyngeal cancer. It is provided to the patient in early-stage cancer. It is often used along with chemotherapy to treat advanced cancers.(2)

Radiotherapy utilizes high-energy x-rays or other radiation to destroy cancer cells or inhibit their growth. Its two types are used for the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer.(3)

Advertisement

External Radiation Therapy- It utilizes an external machine to apply radiation on the affected areas. Certain therapies are used to avoid damage to the neighboring healthy tissues. These are-

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)- It is a radiation therapy that helps to reduce the size and shape of the tumor. It utilizes thin beams to target at the tumor from different angles.(3) It maximizes the dose of radiation to the tumor in precision to prevent exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues.(2) It does not induce dry mouth like standard radiation therapy.(3)

Advertisement

Stereotactic Radiation Therapy- in this therapy, the head is protected with a rigid frame in order to keep it still while radiation therapy is going on. It focuses on the tumor. It is given in small doses for several days.(3) It is usually used to aim at a specific area where cancer has come back.(3)

Internal Radiation Therapy- this therapy is utilized internally in which radioactive substances are sealed in seeds, wires, needles or catheters. It is directly placed into or near the cancer cells.(3)

Radiation therapy is usually painless but it has potential to cause side effects like dry mouth, redness or soreness in the skin, sickness feeling, and reduced sensation of taste, dry mouth, and loss of hair.(3)

Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy is another way to treat nasopharyngeal cancer. It is provided to the patient before radiotherapy or along with radiotherapy. It is preferred in advanced nasopharyngeal cancers. It is administered to the patient intravenously. It usually does not need hospitalization.

Chemotherapy can also induce side effects on the body such as-

  • It will make you feel sick.
  • You will feel tired
  • You will feel soreness in the mouth
  • You may have diarrhea(2)

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer of nasopharynx that can affect any person at any age. It is also called nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The nasopharynx is the portion of the throat that connects the nose with the pharynx. It is located above the back of the throat just behind the nose. The tumors develop in this area. It cannot be seen externally. Its causes are not clear. Epstein-Barr virus infection, genetic abnormalities, salted cured fish or meat, smoking, alcohol consumption and exposure to formaldehyde may induce this cancer. It develops more in men than women. It occurs more in people belonging to South China or Southeast Asia.

Conclusion

Nasopharyngeal cancer can be cured completely if it is diagnosed early. It is treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy or a combination of both. Radiation therapy is the best therapy to control the growth of the tumor and kill the tumor.

References:  

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

,

Last Modified On: June 28, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest