Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Know More About Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal Cancer is a rarely occurring form of cancer usually classified under head and neck cancers. The nasopharynx is the affected area located behind the nose in the upper part of the throat. The nasopharynx is located above the roof of the mouth and at the base of the skull. The nostrils lead towards the nasopharynx.

Usually, nasopharyngeal cancer starts developing in the squamous cells that line the nasopharynx from the inside. The formation of malignant cancer cells in the tissues present in the nasopharynx leads to unpleasant medical conditions. It is also termed Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma or NPC.

Causes of nasopharyngeal cancer

The causes of nasopharyngeal cancer are not very clear. Based on observations and research works, the following information is available to the world:

  • Nasopharyngeal cancer has been linked with the EBV – Epstein-Barr virus. The connection between the two is not evident yet but it probably is involved with the modifications in the DNA. The virus may affect the DNA of the cells of the nasopharynx. This modification leads to the abnormal growth of the cell.
  • The chances of developing nasopharyngeal cancer are also increased when the food is rich in items like meat and salt-cured fish. Consumption of alcohol and tobacco too leads to an increased risk of tumor cells. Working around chemicals like formaldehyde and wood dust may also cause NPC.
  • If an individual has a family history of the disease, there is a probability that the person may get infected with the same. Since heredity plays a major role, it is important for the doctors as well to get both the medical and family history of the patient. Specific genes linked to the same could also be the reason for its development.

Types of nasopharyngeal cancer

The growth of cancer cells in the nasopharynx can either be benign or malignant. The non-cancerous or benign tumors can be found in young adults and children and are quite rare. Angiofibromas and haemangiomas, two small blood vessels, undergo growth in this type of cancer. The benign tumors of minor salivary glands can also be found in the nasopharynx.
Among malignant nasopharynx tumors, these are some of the major types:

Keratinising Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The squamous cells are found in the lining of the nose, mouth, throat, and larynx. The presence of keratin in the cancer cells defines this type of cancer.


Non-keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma

This is the most commonly occurring form of nasopharynx cancer in the body. There is an absence of keratin in the cancer cells.


Basaloid squamous cell cancer

It is a rare type of cancer and an aggressive variant for sure. Most of them may be caused due to long-term exposure to UV rays.


Stages of Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Once the doctor has confirmed that the patient is suffering from nasopharyngeal cancer through diagnosis, he or she determines the level of complexity. This is termed staging.

Stage 0
This is called carcinoma in situ which means that it is the area of origination of the abnormal cell division.

Stage 1
This is basically the early stage or primary stage where the infection has not spread to the surrounding parts.

Stage 2
At stage 2, the cancer cells may have just begun to start spreading in areas like lymph nodes. However, the distant body parts remain unaffected.

Stage 3 and 4
These are the advanced stages where the cancer cells spread through the lymphatic system to distant parts as well as the surrounding tissues.
If nasopharyngeal cancer returns even after the treatment, the condition is termed recurrent cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

  • The patient might have formed a lump in the neck that the specialist can determine on physical examination.
  • Issues like blurred vision, face pain, numbness, and headache can be observed.
  • A feeling of ringing or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss can be witnessed in several cases.
  • Nosebleeding, ear infections, sore throat, and stuffy nose also occur in patients suffering from nasopharyngeal cancer.


To find out the presence of cancerous situations in the body, a lot of diagnosing techniques are applied.

Medical History and physical examination

The doctor will perform a physical examination that helps to identify the formation of any lumps or masses in the affected area. The medical history taken will help to see the previous illness and treatments done. It will help in preparing for the right treatment.


It is a common procedure that is performed to get the tissue samples and carry out laboratory testing. It could be done in two ways. These are

  • NasoscopyDuring this procedure, a small and thin tube-like structure is inserted into the nose. It is equipped with a lens to view the area and a tool to pick up the samples. The sample collected is then viewed under the microscope for the presence of any tumor cells.
  • Upper endoscopyA light and thin tube-like instrument named an endoscope is inserted to take samples from the throat, nose, esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The samples collected are then sent for testing.

Neurological Examination

During this process of diagnosis, a series of tests are prepared along with questions that help in determining the activity of body organs like the brain, spinal cord, and supporting nerves.

Imaging Techniques

Certain imaging techniques like CT Scan, MRI, PET, Chest X-Ray and ultrasound are performed to get detailed pictures of the cell functioning occurring in the body.

Blood Chemistry Studies and complete blood count

The blood samples are taken to check the levels of certain chemicals and substances. Any kind of deviation from the normal signifies the presence of a disease or disorder.
In CBC, the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are determined. The percentage of RBCs in the blood is counted. The levels of hemoglobin are also looked after.

Epstein-Barr Virus and HPV Test

Since both viruses carry the possibility of developing cancer in the body, a test is performed to look for any kind of infection or DNA markers. Also, the presence of antibodies against these viruses is also checked.

Hearing Tests

The hearing tests are performed to know if the soft and loud sounds can be heard by each ear.

What could be the side effects of these treatments?

The possible side effects that can be experienced by the patients are:

  • In the cases of surgery, the patient may experience tooth decay, death of healthy tissue, dry mouth, brain stem injury, and inflammation in the lining of the throat and mouth.
  • Chemotherapy may lead to nausea, vomiting, tiredness, reduced red blood cell count, constipation, change in appetite, infection, and several others.
  • Radiotherapy can cause concentration issues, fatigue, headache, issues with skin, blurred vision, and hair loss among others.

Treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer

On getting diagnosed with the presence of cancerous cells in the body, regular follow-ups need to be made with the doctor or the desired medical team. Depending on the overall health, immunity of the body, stage, and location of cancer, the treatments are devised.

Radiation Therapy

The use of X-ray cells is done to destroy the cancer cells and limit their growth. Usually, it is administered in the early stages. A type of radiation called IMRT can be used that focuses on high-dose radiation attacking the tumor directly and reducing the damage to surrounding healthy cells. It might reduce the side effects and complications.


It uses special drugs or chemicals to remove the cancer cells and inhibit their action. It is performed in combination with the other procedures as well. The cancer cells are targeted and eliminated from the body.


The surgery to remove the tumor is only performed depending on the location and type of the stage. The surgery in this region is not approved easily as the area consists of major nerves and blood vessels. Any kind of carelessness or even a minor issue can lead to causing permanent damage to the eyes and other structures.

Clinical trials and palliative care

Palliative care refers to helping the patients by reducing the symptoms as much as possible. It aims at improving the quality of life and relief from pain. If the treatments are not showing any effect then the doctors may suggest clinical trials where the researchers work in cooperation with you to find the solution to the problem.


How Ayurveda is beneficial?

Ayurveda aims at reducing the symptoms of the disease and eliminating the impurities from the body. It is beneficial in every aspect as the treatments included in ayurveda do not leave any kind of harmful effects on the body. It cures the body by working on the root cause and removing it permanently.

With the help of ayurveda, the toxins are reduced in the body along with energy regeneration. It works on every part of the body, makes digestion better, improves health at a better level, and reduces the levels of stress. Believing in the natural processes of healing gives the people a cause to believe and have faith too.

Why should you go for Karma Ayurveda?

Karma Ayurveda is a name and institution that does not require any introduction for itself. The quality of work and results here speak volumes about its success and reputation. Numerous patients have opted for choosing it and keep on choosing due to the kind of outcomes that they have got. Ayurvedic medicines focus on increasing the overall functioning of the body. It is in the short term, a way of life.

The doctors and healthcare professionals here are determined to provide the best quality services. Integrating the modern forms of medicine with the traditional methods of healing, they aim to work in the most efficient ways. The professionalism maintained here is up to the mark and the people are assisted in every way possible.

The institute focuses on reviving people’s faith in the system of Ayurveda by providing the most reliable and tested herbs and medicines. Accompanied by processes like meditation, yoga, healing therapies, and a balanced diet, Ayurveda has proved itself to be an asset to society. Karma Ayurveda ensures a healthy lifestyle and promotes well-being.