Nasopharyngeal cancer, whose symptoms are fundamentally different from other types of cancer diseases, is most often diagnosed in men over 45 years of age. But everyone can be at risk. Symptoms of cancer of the larynx, oropharynx, nasopharynx, nose are similar. The discomfort that causes this disease causes the patient to consult a doctor who prescribes a full examination. Treatment will depend on the severity and neglect of the cancer.

Cancer of the nasopharynx: symptoms, causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment features

Features of the disease

The tumor formed in the nasopharynx can be of two types:

For benign include:

Benign education is rare, most often it is diagnosed in children (it may be congenital). But the malignant tumor of the nasopharynx is a problem of people in the age, in most cases - men.

The main causes of the disease:

  1. Smoking. This group of people includes those who are simply located near a smoking person (passive smoking). The cells of the nasal mucosa are irritated by smoke, if you just inhale it, but do not smoke yourself. But smokers have a much higher chance of getting cancer.
  2. Frequent use of products treated with pesticides, various seasonings. Carcinogens are considered very harmful.
  3. Dentures. The fact of wearing prostheses does not mean that it is a guarantee of nasopharyngeal cancer. If a prosthesis is picked up incorrectly for a person, he is not suitable for him, that is, there is a risk of developing a tumor. When such a person also smokes, the material from which his prosthesis is made absorbs tobacco smoke. This becomes an additional risk factor.
  4. Abuse of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can irritate the pharyngeal mucosa, which leads to the development of the disease. How often does nasopharyngeal cancer occur for this reason? Symptoms of the disease in 75% of cases of the total number of patients occur in those who love alcohol.
  5. Papillomavirus. If the human body has this virus, the risk of getting nasopharyngeal cancer is high.
  6. Leukoplakia. It is a disease that is considered a precancerous condition. It manifests itself as white spots on the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx.

Risk factors

There is a group of people who have a much higher chance of getting cancer:

  • 40–50 year old men;
  • contacted with Epstein – Barr virus;
  • patients with HIV and mononucleosis;
  • received ionizing radiation;
  • with an autoimmune condition.

How does nasopharyngeal cancer manifest? Symptoms of this tumor appear already in the early stages. The reason is that the nasopharynx is significantly limited to the bones, and this leads to compression of the tumor, which is just beginning to develop.

Symptoms of cancer of the nose and nasopharynx are similar to each other:

  • constant nasal congestion (resembles allergic rhinitis or a common cold runny nose, but there are no other signs anymore);
  • nasal discharge of purulent discharge, sometimes with blood.

Cancer of the nasopharynx and pharynx are symptoms that may indicate one or the other disease:

  • pain when eating, and even when swallowing saliva;
  • paroxysmal cough;
  • hoarseness;
  • constant discomfort in the mouth;
  • change voice timbre.
  • hearing impairment;
  • speech problems;
  • periodic split in the eyes;
  • headache.

In the later stages, the body mass begins to decrease, and the cervical lymph nodes increase.

All of the above symptoms can talk about any other disease. Therefore, only a qualified doctor can make an accurate diagnosis after a full examination.

A person may himself suspect cancer of the nasopharynx. Symptoms are combined in some strange way: discharge from the nose simultaneously occurs with hoarseness, impaired speech.


Examination begins when the patient is treated with characteristic signs. One of the main symptoms is an increase in cervical lymph nodes. Sometimes this symptom is the only one with cancer of the nasopharynx.

The doctor first pays attention to:

  • signs that the patient talks about;
  • numbness of the skin;
  • condition of lymph nodes.

Due to the deep location of the nasopharynx, it cannot be visually examined without ancillary devices. There are cases when the tumor is located under the mucous membrane, which requires a biopsy.

Diagnostic methods that must be used for making an accurate diagnosis:

  1. X-rays of light. This examination is necessary in order to exclude metastases in the lungs.
  2. CT and MRI. The doctor may examine the tumor in detail.
  3. Biopsy. With the help of puncture taken tissue for examination.
  4. Blood test. Helps determine whether the body has associated pathologies.

Very cunning nasopharyngeal cancer. Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment depend on the stage of the disease. The doctor, before starting therapy, determines this stage. The size of the formation and its prevalence throughout the body are taken into account.

Therapy is selected individually, depending on the stage of the disease. The patient's age and his general state of health are taken into account. Basic methods:

Radiation therapy

This method of treatment is considered the main one. At the initial stages, they resort only to radiation therapy, and at later stages they are combined with other methods of treatment, in particular, with chemotherapy. The principle of exposure - the irradiation of the tumor and surrounding tissue.

Radiation therapy affects cancer cells and slows their growth. When the irradiation was carried out, further procedures are shown to the patient in order to prevent it. After all, sometimes in the lymph nodes remain particles of metastases. They cannot be considered due to being too small.

The disadvantage of this method of treatment is that it affects not only bad cells, but also the general state of human health. Radiation therapy is used before and after surgery.


With this method of treatment, the tumor cells are suppressed and destroyed. The doctor prescribes cytotoxic drugs that do their work from the inside.

Chemotherapy combined with other methods of treatment. But, as a rule, it is prescribed before radiation therapy and after surgery. The goal is to completely destroy the tumor cells in all tissues.

Surgical intervention aims to remove:

  • remnants of the tumor;
  • enlarged lymph nodes.

If the tumor has not spread to other organs, then surgery should not cause any difficulties during operation. If metastases were found in other organs, the surgeon excised a part of the damaged organ.


Statistics show that nasopharyngeal cancer, symptoms, the treatment of which depends on the stage, in most cases, kills a person. If the disease was diagnosed at an early stage, then the chance of survival is 70% in cases where the patient is no more than 45 years old. Older people 60–70 years old are less likely to survive with such a diagnosis - 35%. A tumor in the nasopharynx is more often formed than in the oropharynx.

We must not lose sight of the fact that in recent years this diagnosis has been made less and less. Many people stop smoking, which is one of the common causes of cancer.


A healthy lifestyle is the main measure of prevention of nasopharyngeal cancer. A person must stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol. If you have to work in a factory where various harmful substances are used, then you must wear a respirator to prevent chemical agents from entering the airways.

Every person should undergo a routine inspection. If you follow this rule, you can identify the disease in the initial stage, which is treatable.

Very dangerous is nasopharyngeal cancer. Symptoms, treatment and prevention - this is the information that everyone should know in order to prevent the development of the disease, and if the first signs appear, consult a doctor in time. If the cancer is at the initial stage, then with a full examination and complete treatment in a qualified medical center, there is a good chance to get rid of the tumor forever.