Cancer begins when one or more genetic mutations cause normal cells to grow out of control, invade surrounding structures and eventually spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. In nasopharyngeal carcinomas, this process begins in the squamous cells that line the surface of the nasopharynx.
Exactly what causes the gene mutations that lead to nasopharyngeal carcinoma isn't known, though factors, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, that increase the risk of this cancer have been identified. However, it isn't clear why some people with all the risk factors never develop cancer, while others who have no apparent risk factors do.
Sep. 08, 2012
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed July 24, 2012.
- Head and neck cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed July 24, 2012.
- Nasopharyngeal cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/nasopharyngeal/healthprofessional. Accessed July 24, 2012.
- Rottey S, et al. Modern treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Current status and prospects. Current Opinion in Oncology. 2011;23:254.
- Hui EP, et al. Epidemiology, etiology and diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 24, 2012.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 12, 2012.
- Hui EP, et al. Treatment of early locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 24, 2012.
- Dry mouth or xerostomia. Cancer.Net. http://www.cancer.net/patient/All+About+Cancer/Treating+Cancer/Managing+Side+Effects/Dry+Mouth+or+Xerostomia. Accessed July 24, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.