Nasopharyngeal cancer (also known as NPC) is when a tumour develops in the lining of the nasopharynx which is the area of the upper part of the throat behind the nose.
NPC is quite common accounting for around 5% of all cancers in Malaysia. It can start at the age of 35 years with a peak incidence of around 50-60 years.
Main Causes of Oral Cancers
- Genetic (common in Southern Chinese)
- Family history
- Salted fish or preserved vegetables
- Wood dust or industrial fumes (formaldehyde)
- Epstein-Barr Virus
Symptoms & Signs of NPC
- Tinnitus which is a buzzing sound in one ear (early sign)
- Decreased hearing in one ear
- Blocked or recurrent infection in one ear
- Blocked or congested nose
- Swollen gland in the neck
- Recurrent nose bleeds
- Headache or double vision (late sign)
CT, MRI & PET Scans helps to localise the NPC to help doctors plan treatment.
Treatment of NPC
Nasopharyngeal cancer is treated by a team of doctors and health professionals which include the ENT surgeon, Dietician and Oncologist. Treatment requires:
- Intensive Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)
- Concurrent Chemo-Radiotherapy
- Neck dissection or Naso-pharyngectomy surgery (required if chemo-radiotherapy fails)
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