Nasopharynx, cancer of

A cancerous tumour of the nasopharynx that usually spreads to the nasal cavity, nasal sinuses, base of the skull, and lymph nodes in the neck. Cancer of the nasopharynx is rare in the West but common in the Far East. Most common at age 40–50, it affects twice as many men as women. One cause is believed to be the Epstein–Barr virus. Common first signs are recurrent nosebleeds, a runny nose, and voice change. Loss of sense of smell, double vision, deafness, paralysis of one side of the face, and severe pain may develop. Diagnosis is through a biopsy, MRI scans, and X-rays. Treatment is usually with radiotherapy, but surgery may also be performed. If treated early, the outlook can be good.


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