Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a term used to define cancer that develops in the nasopharynx, the part of the nasal cavity located just behind the nose. Although cancer is quite rare in most parts of the world, the incidence is comparatively higher in various states of India. The best ENT doctors in Pune suggest that nasopharyngeal carcinoma is usually detected late, as the symptoms are very common, and resemble those of other common conditions. Luckily cancer can be treated with the help of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In some cases, the doctor may recommend a combination of both for better results.
What are the symptoms that you need to look out for?
All the diseases are characterized by their symptoms, but, a single symptom could be triggered by many conditions, and this is why it is important to go for a proper assessment to determine the underlying cause that is responsible for it. You might overlook the symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma because these are very common. It is also important to understand that not all patients are going to experience the same symptoms and some might not experience any symptoms at all.
Here is a list of symptoms that you should not take for granted, as listed by the experts from the top ENT Hospital in Pune.
- Mass or lump in your neck, which is probably due to the swollen lymph nodes
- Traces of blood in your saliva
- Discharging blood from the nose
- Severe nasal congestion
- Tinnitus or loss of hearing ability
- Increased susceptibility to ear infections
- Soreness and discomfort in the throat
- Persistent headaches
Many people prefer not seeing a doctor for such symptoms as these are easily manageable at home. However, if the problem is persistent and you are not responding to any medication, it is important to see a doctor.
What causes nasopharyngeal carcinoma?
Just like any other cancer the exact cause of nasopharyngeal carcinoma is not known, however, it is believed to be a result of abnormal genetic mutations in the DNA of the squamous cell that line the nasopharynx. There are many factors that can lead to such genetic changes, so it is important to note that this is not the case always. Some people may not develop cancer despite falling in the risk category. We have listed some of the common risk factors associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma with the help of experts from the best hospital in Pune.
Gender - Your gender plays a very important role in determining your susceptibility to certain diseases and ailments. As far as nasopharyngeal carcinoma is concerned, it is quite common in men, as compared to women.
Age - Age is yet another important factor that increases the risks of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The condition is quite likely to be diagnosed in adults lying in the age group of 30 to 50 years.
Salt-cured foods - When you cook salt-cured foods, the steam that is released into the atmosphere can enter the nasal cavity, and the chemicals present in it can irritate the cells, often triggering cancerous changes.
Epstein-Barr virus - It is one of the most common viruses, that triggers very mild symptoms, usually resembling those of the common cold. The virus can also Trigger serious infections like infectious mononucleosis. The same virus has been linked with many malignancies, like nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Family history - Family history is believed to be one of the leading risk factors for many diseases. If you have a family member who has been detected with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, you are at an increased risk of the same.
Alcohol and tobacco - People who drink excessive alcohol, or smoke a lot are at a high risk of developing nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The chemicals present in these can lead to unhealthy DNA mutations, which can result in cancer.
It is very important to watch out for the symptoms, especially if you fall in the risk category. Stay in touch with your doctor, and go for regular assessment. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is easily curable if detected early.