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Nasal Cancer: An Overview

Nasal cancer is a malignancy / cancerous condition of the naso-pharyngeal region; where the nasal passages and auditory lobes intersect. Nasal cancer is comparatively common in parts of Africa and East Asia.

What Causes Nasal Cancer?


The chief causative factors of nasal cancer are:

• EB infection or Epstein Barr viral infection
• Salted foods such as: vegetables, fish and meat cause symptoms of nasal cancer
• A genetic tendency for the disease.

Symptoms of Nasal Cancer


The significant symptoms of nasal cancer are:

• A lump in the neck is one of the first seen symptoms of nasal cancer. It occurs due to inflamed lymph nodes.
• Difficulty while swallowing food and hoarseness of voice are common manifestations.
• The person will complain of nosebleed and nasal discharge.
• The face gets paralyzed on one side.
• Ear pain and hearing loss are important symptoms of nasal cancer.
• One’s sense of smell decreases.
• Diplopia or double vision, visual impairment, and visual loss are frequently seen in nasal cancer patients.
• Opening the mouth becomes difficult.
• There occurs an increased release of saliva
• Headaches are extremely common.
• Patients complain of a buzzing sound in the ears

Treatment of Nasal Cancer


The treatment and clinical management plan of nasal cancer depends on the location of the tumor mass, stage of the disease, and the patient’s general health status.

Usually, the treatment consists of: surgical intervention, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Surgery:

The tumor mass is removed along with some of the healthy tissue that surrounds it. The primary aim is to eliminate all the malignant cells and leave clean margins.

Radiation therapy:

High powered X-rays are used to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be either internal or external.

In internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, a radio-active device is placed inside the tumor mass to destroy the cancerous cells effectively, whilst, in external radiation therapy or teletherapy, the malignant cells are targeted externally by the radiation beams.

Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy makes use of specific chemicals or powerful drugs to kill the proliferating cancer cells. The treatment is given orally, via pills, or intravenously, in cycles. The cycles of chemotherapy may extend over a few weeks to a few months.

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