Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a cancer disease that develops in the nasopharynx. The nasopharynx is located at the behind the nose, and posterior to the throat. This disease is uncommon in the United States, however, it’s predominant in places like Asia. This disease occurs in both children and adults. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is not easy to detect. This is why it’s not mostly discovered early. This can be attributed to the fact that the signs and symptoms do not present early. In addition, the signs and symptoms tend to be similar to other diseases. This sometimes does confuse physicians, as they might misdiagnose the disease, primarily because of its rarity. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include hemoptysis, loss of hearing, ear infections, headaches, lumps in the neck, bleeding from the nose and so on. The treatment of this disease is just like other cancer diseases. It includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a combination of the two in severe conditions. The physician would determine the right procedure for the patient, as each patient tend to have a peculiar situation. Physicians can buy stem cells online for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is usually asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, however, the disease starts presenting as it progresses. Some of the signs and symptoms of the disease are below;
- Blood in the saliva: This is one of the first signs that would indicate that the patient has the disease.
- Bloody discharge from the nose: This occurs in most patients, and also happens in the early part of the disease.
- Nasal congestion: Patient would complain of a prolonged nasal congestion. This nasal congestion might last for months, and wouldn’t resolve even after taking medications.
- Headaches: This tends to occur as the size of a tumour The headache would worsen as the disease progresses.
- Regular ear infections: Patients would regularly present with ear infections. Some of the signs of this might include the production of pus from the ear, ringing in the ear and so on.
- Loss of hearing: Patients might experience hearing loss, as a result of regular ear infection. This occurs mostly when the ear infection is not well managed, or not treated at all.
When You Should Go See A Doctor
This disease doesn’t present with signs and symptoms early, so patients do come to the hospital late when the disease is already getting to the advanced stage. However, if you notice any of the signs and symptoms above, you should go see a physician.
What Are The Causes Of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma?
The exact cause of nasopharyngeal carcinoma is not known yet, however, there are some factors that are responsible for this disease. Some of these factors include infection, environmental factors and genetics.
- Infection: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma has been associated with viral infections. An example of this viral infection is the Epstein Barr virus. This virus is one of the most common causes of the disease. According to studies, up to about 95% of the population in the United States are affected by the Epstein Virus. However, some people have suggested that genetics might also play a role in the development of the disease since Epstein Barr virus rarely cause any disease. The mechanism through which this virus causes nasopharyngeal carcinoma is not clear yet. However, advances are being made on this, so that a proper and effective treatment can be made.
- Environmental factor: There are some environmental factors that could lead to the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. These factors include smoking and exposure to chemical toxins. According to studies, a cigarette contains about 64 carcinogens. These carcinogens and toxins increase the risk of developing nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
- Genetics: Cancer develops due to a mutation in one of the cells. This mutation leads to the development of abnormal cells. These cells grow faster than the healthy cells, and when these abnormal cells aggregate together, they form tumours. These tumour cells also have the ability to migrate from their place of origin to another place.
What Are The Risk Factors For Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma?
Risk factors are conditions that increase the chances of developing the disease. Some of the risk factors include;
- Gender: It has been observed that nasopharyngeal carcinoma tends to occur more in women.
- Race: It has been observed that nasopharyngeal carcinoma occurs more in Asian countries. Some of the countries include Northern Africa. In addition, Asian immigrants in America tend to have a higher risk of having the disease as compared to other Americans.
- Infection: There are some infections that increase the chances of developing nasopharyngeal carcinoma. An example of this disease is the Epstein Barr virus. This disease can also cause infectious mononucleosis.
- Foods: There are some chemicals present in some foods and vegetables. In addition, steam released when cooking salt-cured foods tends to cause nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
- Family history: People who have relatives that are affected by this disease, tend to have a higher chance of developing the disease.
There are different ways of treating nasopharyngeal carcinoma. However, the treatment procedure that a patient would need has to be determined by the physician. Some of the treatment procedures commonly used include radiation therapy, chemical therapy and surgery. Doctors might also decide to combine both radiotherapy and chemotherapy in severe cases.
- Radiation therapy: This is the process whereby high-intensity radiations are used to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy might be the only therapy needed for small tumours, while a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy might be needed for severe cases.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the process whereby medications are used for the destruction of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually used after radiotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This includes those that might have spread from the original site of a tumour.
- Surgery: This is done to remove lymph nodes in the neck
Stem Cell Therapy And Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Scientists are working on ways to identify cancer cells. Detecting these cancer cells would help to find an effective treatment for the disease.
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Fenggang, Y. and Kwok Seng, L. (2014). Cancer stem cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: current evidence. Journal of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
Shumaila, S. and Tony J. C, W. (2014). Nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Current treatment options and future directions. Journal of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
The Role of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Nasopharyngeal Cancer. (2016). Journal of NasoPharyngeal Carcinoma.