Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Nasopharyngeal (nay-zo-fuh-RIN-gee-uhl) carcinoma is cancer that occurs in the nasopharynx, which is located behind your nose and above the back of your throat.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is rare in the United States. In other parts of the world — specifically Southeast Asia — nasopharyngeal carcinoma occurs much more frequently.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is difficult to detect early. That's probably because the nasopharnyx isn't easy to examine and symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma mimic those of other more common conditions.

Treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma usually involves radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of the two. You can work with your doctor to determine the exact approach depending on your particular situation.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

In its early stages, nasopharyngeal carcinoma may not cause any symptoms. Possible noticeable symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma include:

  • A lump in your neck caused by a swollen lymph node
  • Blood in your saliva
  • Bloody discharge from your nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hearing loss
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Headaches

When to see a doctor

Early nasopharyngeal carcinoma symptoms may not always prompt you to see your doctor. However, if you notice any unusual and persistent changes in your body, such as unusual nasal congestion, that don't seem right to you, see your doctor.

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