Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a form of cancer, which occurs in the nasopharynx, the area located at the back of our throat and behind the nose. The disease is not easy to diagnose at its early stages, because the symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer are not simple to detect by Los Angeles oncologists and they often share a resemblance to the signs of other common diseases. Below is a quick look at the symptoms and causes of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Symptoms and Causes

The common symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma include neck lump probably due to a swollen lymph node, blood in saliva, nasal blood discharge, ringing in ears and nasal congestion, hearing problem, headaches, sore throat, and constant ear infections. Early symptoms of this cancer do not usually promote one to see a primary care doctor. However, consulting the nearby community healthcare center is very important in case you notice unusual changes in your body and experience frequent nasal infections.

The main cause of any type of cancer is the mutation of normal cells, where healthy cells are transformed into malignant cells. Tumor cells of this cancer spread to other parts of the body very quickly and invade them. In nasopharyngeal carcinoma, the mutation starts in the squamous cells, which line your nasopharynx. However, gene mutations that lead to this are still unknown.

It is reported that the Epstein–Barr virus or Human gammaherpesvirus 4 is the major contributing factor here. However, it is still unclear how some people with all the risk factors do not experience nasopharyngeal carcinoma and people with no risk factors at all can fall prey to the disorder.

Risk Factors and Complications

Experts have found the following risk factors, which aid in the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

  • Salty Foods – Chemicals that are produced during steam cooking vegetables and fish, which usually include salt, can also be a risk factor of this cancer. They can enter your nasal cavity and promote the growth of the malignant cells.
  • Epstein-Barr virus – This virus has the same symptoms as a common cold or flu. However, severe mononucleosis linked with this virus can lead to the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma along with many other cancers.
  • Inheritance – If this cancer disease runs in your family, the chances of you getting it are increased. Besides that, increased usage of alcohol and smoking cigarettes can also lead to the disease.
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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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