All you need to know about nasopharyngeal cancer and its treatment in Turkey

All you need to know about nasopharyngeal cancer and its treatment

Although nasopharyngeal cancer is rare, its location poses a threat to human life, so it was necessary to give it special importance in order to diagnose and treat it early in Turkey.

What is nasopharyngeal cancer?

Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is a rare type of head and neck cancer, with only 260 cases diagnosed in the United States annually.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma occurs more commonly in some regions, such as Southeast Asia.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) begins when cells get out of control in the upper part of the pharynx called the nasopharynx, and it must be distinguished from other head and neck cancers that affect the throat area asThroat Cancer oresophageal cancer orthyroid cancer.

The nasopharynx is located near the base of the skull above the sail of the palate (the soft palate) just behind the nasal cavity and is separated from the nasal cavity by the two mandibles.

indicate statistics The 5-year survival rate after nasopharyngeal cancer is estimated to be 61%, and this is related to several factors including the location and spread of the tumor.

The nasopharynx is located just above the soft palate and behind the nasal cavity
A picture showing the anatomy of the nasopharynx and its relationship to the vicinity

All nasopharyngeal carcinomas in adults and most nasopharyngeal carcinomas in children are carcinomas, meaning that they arise from cells lining the nasopharynx.

NPC can affect any age, even children, and its symptoms are similar to many other more common conditions and its examination and detection is rather difficult, so it is only detected in the advanced stages.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is often treated with radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or both. Doctors in Turkey perform some medical examinations and choose the optimal procedure for each case.

squamous cell nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Picture showing what is nasopharyngeal cancer?

Classification and mode of spread of squamous cell nasopharyngeal carcinoma

When squamous cell carcinoma begins to form in the nasopharynx and increases in size, it often spreads to nearby lymph nodes in the neck.
As the cancer continues to develop, it may invade the blood vessels and begin to spread to other areas of the body, such as the liver, lungs, and bones.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is classified based on many factors, including the size and location of the primary tumor and the way cancer cells have spread beyond the primary tumor to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.

Here are some main lines in the interim evaluation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma:

stage the description
stage 0 The tumor is confined to the endothelial layer of the nasopharynx and is called carcinoma in situ
level 1 The tumor has spread to nearby structures without reaching the lymph nodes and distant parts of the body
Stage 2 The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes on one side of the neck without reaching the distant parts of the body
Stage 3 The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes on both sides without reaching the distant parts of the body
Stage 4 The tumor has spread to parts far from the nasopharynx, such as the liver, lungs, and bones

Causes of nasopharyngeal cancer

There are no clear and explicit causes that lead to the loss of cell control and the occurrence of throat cancer, but there are some factors that increase the incidence of this type of cancer that have been discovered and identified.

Despite this, some things are still unclear about the causes and risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer, and it is not entirely clear why some people develop cancerous cells despite their lack of risk factors and why others who have not all of the detected risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer do not develop.

Detected risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer include:

  • family story: Having a family member with nasopharyngeal cancer increases the risk of developing this cancer.
  • Gender: Nasopharyngeal cancer affects males more than females.
  • the age: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma can begin at any age, but is most common in ages 30-50.
  • Race: Most of this cancer occurs in Southeast Asia, southern China, and North Africa.
  • Alcohol and smoking: It has been found that excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes increases the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer.
  • Salted meat and fish: These foods release a chemical called nitrosamine that may increase the risk of developing the disease.
  • Epstein-Barr virus EBV:Exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus increases the risk of developing this type of cancer, but it is not deterministic towards the development of cancer. Many people infected with this virus do not have chronic health problems. Research is still underway on the relationship of EBV to nasopharyngeal cancer.

Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma may not cause any symptoms in its early stages, and the resulting symptoms may be mild and similar to other common benign conditions that occur in the nasopharynx, and this leads to a delay in the diagnosis of cancer.

Throat cancer symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Throat swelling (the most common)
  • Hearing loss due to Eustachian tube obstruction (often unilateral)
  • tinnitus (sounds heard in the ear)
  • Nasal obstruction (usually on one side)
  • epistaxis
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • a headache
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty breathing or speaking
  • Frequent ear infections

If you suffer from these symptoms or some of them for more than 3 weeks without improvement, do not hesitate to contact uscommunication With Bimaristan Medical Center, we will guide you to the most skilled doctors and the best centers specialized in treating nasopharyngeal cancer andThroat Cancer in Turkey.

Keep in mind that the appearance of such symptoms for you may be due to other common diseases that are not dangerous for NPC, so there is no need to fear, contact your doctor for the necessary tests to rule out nasopharyngeal cancer.

Diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer in Turkey

Nasopharyngeal cancer is usually diagnosed when a patient with one of the previous symptoms visits a doctor's office. The doctor begins by listening to the patient's complaint, taking the clinical and family history, and then proceeding to a physical examination. The general practitioner may use an ear-nose-throat doctor to perform the following tests and confirm Diagnosis:

  • Use a small mirror and a light to see the nasopharynx.
  • Nasopharyngoscopy: Using a flexible, lighted tube inserted through the mouth or nose to see the nasopharynx more closely.
  • Tissue biopsy: In case of suspicion of nasopharyngeal cancer after endoscopy, A biopsy of cells is taken through a fine needle from the tumor area and examined under the microscope.

Squamous cell nasopharyngeal carcinoma is divided into 3 histological types:

  • keratinized squamous cell carcinoma
  • Non-keratinized squamous cell carcinoma
  • Undifferentiated or poorly differentiated cancer

Corneal carcinoma is the most serious of these types and is associated with a lower survival rate.

After diagnosing cancer in Turkey, some radiological examinations must be performed to find out where the cancer has spread and to determine the stage of the tumor, including:

  • Simple chest image CXR
  • Computed axial tomography (CT) scan
  • MRI . magnetic resonance imaging
  • PET-scan positron emission tomography

The following laboratory tests may also be performed to help diagnose the disease:

  • complete blood count
  • Tests to detect Einstein-Barr virus

Nasopharyngeal cancer treatment in Turkey

When you are diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer, you and your doctor will make the final decision on the optimal treatment plan in Turkey based on the tumor's location, staging and overall health.

The treatment plan in Turkey may include killing cancer cells using radiation, so-called radiotherapy, or killing them using drugs, so-called chemotherapy, or removing the tumor mass through surgery, and the treatment protocol can include more than one technique at the same time.
Learn more about Cancer diagnosis and treatment methods in Turkey.

I have found Studies The cure rate for stage II nasopharyngeal cancer when the appropriate treatment protocol is selected exceeds 90%.

It should be noted that smoking cessation is necessary if the NPC patient is a smoker because smoking increases the risk of relapse after treatment and leads to more side effects related to treatment, in addition to Its effect on oral health in general.

Radiotherapy of nasopharyngeal cancer

Radiation therapy is the most widely used treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer.

When the nasopharyngeal carcinoma is small, radiotherapy alone may be sufficient to eliminate the cancer, while in other cases, radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is the preferred treatment.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is usually treated through a technique called external beam radiation therapy in which high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons are used to kill cancer cells, stop their growth, and reduce the size of the cancer or eliminate it permanently. The patient sits at a table and uses a large device that rotates around the patient to direct the beam The rays are carefully directed towards the tumor.

The patient lies down and a large device rotates around him and directs the beam of radiation towards the tumor
Image showing how to treat nasopharyngeal cancer in Turkey using external beam radiation

I have found Studies The 10-year survival rate after radiotherapy is estimated to be 41.5% for patients with stage I and II nasopharyngeal carcinomas and 22.8% for those with stage III and IV.

Radiation therapy is applied through short daily sessions that are repeated 5 times a week (one session every day with a two-day break) that usually lasts for 7 weeks. These sessions do not need to stay in the hospital between sessions.

Radiation therapy in itself is not painful, but it may carry some risks and temporary side effects such as redness of the skin, hearing loss, andDry mouth And changes in the sense of taste, and may cause severe infections and ulcers in the mouth, throat or stomach, especially when combined with chemotherapy, and radiation may increase the incidence of skin cancer.

Another type of radiotherapy that places solid radioisotope seeds in or near the cancer for several minutes or several days is known as brachytherapy, and is usually used to treat recurrent nasopharyngeal cancer after it has healed.

Depending on the type of radiation used for treatment, your doctor may decide to stay in the hospital for some time.


It is a systemic treatment in which one or more drugs are used to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing, dividing, and giving new cells.
Because it reduces the chance of nasopharyngeal cancer recurring, chemotherapy can be part of a treatment plan that may include surgery, radiation therapy, or both.

Some drugs are taken orally, but most of them are given intravenously to be transported by blood to the cancer cells in the body. Therefore, this method is useful in treating nasopharyngeal cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy is usually used with or before radiotherapy in advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, and this has a significant role in increasing the effectiveness and effect of radiotherapy, but it causes more side effects.

The doctor will select the appropriate chemical drugs for you and show you how to use them, the necessary dosage for treatment and the duration of treatment. The possible side effects will depend on the type of drugs and how long they are used.


Surgery is not usually used to treat nasopharyngeal cancer in Turkey due to the difficulty in accessing the nasopharyngeal area for surgeons.

However, surgery is sometimes used to remove infected lymph nodes in the neck that have not responded to other treatments.

After the surgery, a nasogastric tube is inserted through one of the nostrils to feed the patient because he will not be able to eat until the surgical area has healed.

It may take about two weeks for the patient to recover after the operation during which he is given liquid food through the tube, and the patient can go home about 3-5 days after the surgery with the tube still in place.

Targeted therapy with biopharmaceuticals

Patients with nasopharyngeal cancer may benefit from biological drugs that affect the immune system and its response to cancer cells, such as cetuximab (a synthetic derivative of an immune protein) injection.

Targeted drug therapy works differently from chemotherapy drugs and this type of treatment is usually combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Why should I choose treatment in Turkey?

Recently, Turkey has become one of the leading countries in the field of medical tourism in the world.
The reason for this is due to the presence of advanced medical centers that provide appropriate treatment by the most skilled doctors and the latest medical devices at a low cost.
Regarding what has been said, the medical center of Bimaristan Medical Center remains your first choice the best treatment in Turkey.
We guide you to the best expert specialists in all fields.
We facilitate the language of communication between you and everyone through specialized Arab doctors who will help you communicate with your doctor.
We help you secure the right treatment and high-end service in the most modern hospitals and medical centers in Turkey.
We provide our services extensively and precisely.
We will be with you step by step towards recovery.
Free consultations around the clock.
don't hesitate tous,Bimaristan center is your family in Turkey.

Common Questions

Statistics indicate that the 5-year survival rate after nasopharyngeal carcinoma is estimated to be 61%, and this is related to several factors including the location and spread of the tumor.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is considered a curable disease. The treatment plan in Turkey may include killing cancer cells using radiation, which is called radiotherapy, or killing them using drugs called chemotherapy, or removing the tumor mass through surgery.

When the nasopharyngeal carcinoma is small, radiotherapy alone may be sufficient to eliminate the cancer, while in other cases, radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is the preferred treatment.

If you are planning treatment in Turkey
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