Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which cancer originates in the tissues of the nasopharynx – the upper part of the throat (pharynx) behind the nose. Nasopharyngeal cancer most commonly starts in the squamous cells that line the nasopharynx.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer, which includes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and salivary glands. About 71,100 cases of head and neck cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2024, and about 16,110 deaths will occur, according to the National Cancer Institute.

These cancers are nearly twice as common among men as they are among women and are diagnosed more often among people over age 50 than they are among younger people.

Ethnic background – having Chinese or Asian ancestry – and being exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus are risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer, as is heavy alcohol consumption.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®)

Source: National Cancer Institute