Nasopharyngeal Cancer Symptoms and Side Effects
Whether you have just been diagnosed or are undergoing treatment, you need to know what to expect and what you can do to help. Nasopharyngeal cancer has many symptoms and side effects, but the good news is that it can be treated.
Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer may include pain, swelling, bleeding, and difficulty breathing. It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. It is also important to seek treatment if the symptoms persist for more than three weeks. The sooner a tumor is detected, the better the prognosis.
Nasopharyngeal cancer can develop in anyone of any age. Cancer may start in the lining of the nasopharynx, which is a hollow cavity located behind the nose. When cancer grows, it can spread to nearby structures, such as the lymph nodes in the neck. The cancer cells may also travel to nearby organs and bones.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is usually diagnosed due to symptoms. If you think you may have a nasopharynx tumor, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in head and neck diseases. The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your health. He or she will also check for any possible neck masses.
If your doctor suspects you have nasopharyngeal carcinoma, he or she may order tests to see if cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Tests may include a CT scan, which gives a detailed picture of the neck. You may also need a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure that removes a small piece of tissue from the nasopharynx. This tissue is then sent to a lab for analysis. The sample is used to help doctors determine the stage of cancer. The stage helps doctors determine the best course of treatment.
Treatment for the nasopharyngeal disease includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgical removal of the nasopharynx. The treatment is usually given in combination with other therapies. In some cases, surgery may be the only option available to treat cancer. The surgery may involve reconstructing the nasopharynx.
Other symptoms of nasopharyngeal tumors include trouble hearing in one ear, a lump in the neck, and a swollen lymph node. These symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately. Your doctor may order tests to see if the cancer is spread to the lymph nodes.
During an initial consultation with a doctor, he or she will check your throat, ears, nose, and cheeks for any abnormalities. If a lump or an abnormal growth is found, the doctor will order tests to find out if it’s nasopharyngeal cancer.
A doctor will use an endoscope to look inside the nasopharynx, the area just above the roof of the mouth. This tube has a light at one end and is inserted through the nose and throat. It allows the doctor to see the tumor and remove a small piece if needed.
The doctor will also order a blood test to measure the amount of red and white blood cells in the blood. This test can also detect any abnormalities in the neck or head. If the test shows abnormalities, your doctor may order further tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Another test your doctor may order is a PET/CT scan. This type of test can identify nasopharyngeal tumors and can tell if they have spread to other parts of the body. Typically, radiation therapy is used to destroy the tumor and may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments.
A hearing test can also help detect cancerous cells. A doctor may also order a blood test for the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus is part of the herpes virus family and is normally found in the body’s bodily fluids.
Another test that may be performed is an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to produce pictures of the neck. It can also identify nearby lymph nodes.
When nasopharyngeal carcinoma is detected early, it can be treated effectively. Treatment includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which are drugs that stop cancer cells from growing and dividing. This helps patients to live longer. In addition, regular follow-up visits are necessary to monitor the condition.
If nasopharyngeal or other throat cancer is suspected, you should contact an ENT specialist immediately. You can also contact a nasopharyngeal oncology clinic for information about treatment. This can help you make a more informed decision about your treatment.
Currently, most nasopharyngeal cancer treatments are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. However, there are newer treatments in the works, including immunotherapy and biological drugs. These are all used to attack cancer and strengthen the immune system.
Nasopharyngeal cancer treatment begins with a physical exam, which will include a detailed look at the throat, ears, and neck. In addition, a biopsy of the tissue is taken to determine whether abnormalities exist. This can help doctors diagnose the type of cancer and its stage.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves and X-rays to destroy cancer cells. Sometimes, the radiation is used alone, but it can also be added to chemotherapy. Usually, a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin is given before radiation therapy. This helps make the radiation more effective at killing cancer cells. However, chemotherapy can have more side effects than radiation therapy.
In addition, radiation therapy may be used after surgery to remove cancerous cells. It may also be used to treat recurrent cancer. These treatments are not used as often for nasopharyngeal carcinoma as they are for other head and neck cancers.
Surgery may be used to treat nasopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer is found in the lining of the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nasal cavity. Cancer may also spread to lymph nodes. It is often found in people who smoke and have a family history of nasopharyngeal tumors.
Other treatments include immunotherapy, which aims to strengthen the immune system. It is also used to attack abnormalities in cancerous cells. There are also newer drugs being studied that target specific proteins. These include nivolumab and Opdivo.
Surgery may not be an option for some people with nasopharyngeal Cancer. This is because the tumor is located near nerves and blood vessels. Surgery can also cause permanent damage to nearby structures. If you are considering surgery, ask your doctor about the risks and benefits.
Depending on the stage of your nasopharyngeal disease, you may be referred to a specialist, such as a head and a neck oncologist or radiation oncologist. The oncologist will determine the best course of treatment for you.
Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer include pain in the ear, difficulty breathing, and a lump in the neck. This condition can occur at any age and can be more common in people with certain health conditions. Some risk factors include exposure to certain chemicals in salt-cured foods and the Epstein-Barr virus.
Treatment options for nasopharyngeal carcinoma include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Patients may also want to join clinical trials to try new treatment options.
Radiation therapy uses X-rays to kill cancer cells. Intense-modulated radiotherapy minimizes damage to healthy tissues while providing a high dose of radiation to the tumor. This type of therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments. The side effects are usually less severe than other radiation techniques.
Chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is typically administered through a vein by a needle and a cannula. Chemotherapy can cause side effects such as nausea and fatigue. Some side effects may be permanent, while others may disappear after a few weeks or months.
Surgery may be needed to remove a tumor or lymph nodes in the neck. This type of surgery is not often used for nasopharyngeal tumors because the tumor is near a blood vessel or cranial nerve. However, it can be used to remove tumors that do not respond to radiation therapy.
Cancer can spread by entering the lymph system, where it will travel to other parts of the body. Some side effects of nasopharyngeal radiation and chemotherapy include constipation, dry mouth, hair loss, and nausea.
The outlook for the nasopharyngeal disease has improved over the years. However, it is important to see a doctor if you notice symptoms. Nasopharyngeal cancer is rare in the United States, but it is more common in countries such as China, Africa, and Southeast Asia. People with nasopharyngeal symptoms should visit their primary care provider annually to have a complete physical exam and screening tests.
Patients can find a support group to discuss their symptoms and concerns with others. The National Cancer Institute offers a list of organizations that can help. In addition, people can join clinical trials to find new treatments and help others with cancer.
Health A to Z. (n.d.). HSE.ie. https://www2.hse.ie/az/
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Directory Health Topics. (n.d.). https://www.healthline.com/directory/topics
Health A-Z. (2022, April 26). Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/health-a-z-4014770
Harvard Health. (2015, November 17). Health A to Z. https://www.health.harvard.edu/health-a-to-z
Health Conditions A-Z Sitemap. (n.d.). EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/conditions/