Nasopharyngeal cancer, being a serious and life-threatening disease, is a tumor of a specific nature, which is fundamentally different from other types of tumors located in the neck and head.
Since the nasopharynx is located in the zone of the posterior part of the nasal cavity, and is also limited by the bones of the base of the skull, the features of its development are explained precisely by the physiological structure of this organ. Several types of tissues that form the area of the nasopharynx and nose, contain different cells by their nature, which causes a different nature of malignant neoplasms in this area.
It is important to correctly diagnose the area of the tumor - from the type of cells that form the affected tissue, the treatment technique directly depends.
Types of nasopharyngeal cancer
The basis for the classification of tumors located in the region of the nose and nasopharynx is their division into good and malignant ones.
As is clear from the name, tumors that are benign in nature do not pose a threat to the life of the sick person, however, their removal is most often justified by a decrease in the quality of life-worsening of hearing on the part of tumor formation, permanent nasal congestion.
Malignant neoplasms pose a serious danger to the health and even life of the patient, therefore the treatment should be started as soon as possible after the diagnosis of the disease.
Classification of neoplasms in the nasopharynx depends on their nature.
This type of neoplasm is not common, and in case of detection, the patient is most often in childhood or adolescence. They can be of two main types:
These types of tumors of the nose and nasopharynx are mainly formed from the cells of the upper layer of the epithelium.
To tumors with a malignant nature, there are three types of tumors having a different histological character:
- squamous keratinizing - this species is considered to be the most aggressive and dangerous, therefore, if detected, measures must be taken immediately;
- squamous nonkeratinous is a less aggressive type of cancer of this area;
- is an undifferentiated type.
Specific types of malignant neoplasms
In addition to the three types of cancer listed, a variety of diseases such as lymphoma can develop in the nose and nasopharynx. It arises as a result of the development of pathological processes of the hematopoietic organs. This type of malignant neoplasm is very specific both in its manifestations and in its course, and its treatment has its own peculiarities.
In the area of small salivary glands, this type of cancer, adenocarcinoma, as well as a cylinder, or adenocystic type of cancer can develop. These glands are located in the nasopharynx, and the course of the disease also has pronounced features of flow and treatment.
Statistics and areas of occurrence of
The development of malignant neoplasms in the examined area( nose and nasopharynx) can occur in people living in all parts of the world.
According to medical statistics, among malignant tumors of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma belongs to about 0.25% of cases of , and in respect of malignant tumors of the neck and head - in 2% of cases.
Especially often the disease occurs in men, whose age is about 50 years. Women suffer from cancer of this area a little less often.
What are the causes of this disease?
Causes of development of
There are no clear reasons for the development of cancer of the nose and nasopharynx today. The opinion of specialists in this field is divided, some believe that one of the main causes of this disease is malnutrition.
Such products as salted fish and meat products can be especially negative for nasopharyngeal tissue. With their frequent use, toxic carcinogenic substances are released, which can affect the delicate tissues of the throat and the nasopharynx.
According to another category of specialists, nasopharyngeal cancer can be the result of heredity - the transfer of information by inheritance can provoke the formation of malignant tumors of this region.
Also one of the causes of nasopharyngeal cancer can be the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis of an infectious nature.
The first signs of
Symptomatic of this disease is not too pronounced, and the general picture of the initial stage of cancer of this area is as follows:
- hearing loss worsening;
- tenderness in the neck, especially in its upper part;
- seals in the upper parts of the neck;
- neck pain, headache with varying intensity;
- discharge from the nose, marked congestion and difficulty in breathing;
- the presence of blood particles in the discharge from the nasal passages.
However, as with other types of malignant neoplasms, the success of their cure depends on how early the stage was diagnosed. The earlier the disease is found, the higher the chance to completely get rid of it or to stop its development.
Stages of the pathological process
In the process of this disease there is a gradual increase in the process of penetration of cancer cells into healthy tissues of the body. There are several consecutive stages of the disease:
- zero stage - when viewed, cells with an atypical character and a special structure are found which, if redundantly divided, can begin to penetrate into healthy tissues and organs;
- first stage - atypical cells actively divide and form a pronounced tumor that is located exclusively in the nasopharynx;
- on second stage tumor develops and can spread in the following directions:
- stage 2A - the tumor grows into the soft palate, can be seen already in the pharynx and nasal cavity;
- stage 2B - penetration of actively dividing cancer cells occurs in the adjacent lymph node and neighboring tissues adjacent to the lesion;
- on the of the third stage, the malignant neoplasm develops and can be classified by the following sub-stages:
- , the cancerous tumor continues its growth and can manifest itself in the tissues of the nasopharynx, in the lymph nodes of the neck, while the size of the nodes significantly increases and interferes with the normal breathing and swallowing process;
- cancer cells penetrate into the middle pharynx, the base of the tongue, the palatine region, into the tonsils;
- further spread of cancer cells into the pharynx, deepening of metastases in the soft tissues of the palate and pharynx, and also penetrates into both lymph nodes;
- is now increasing tumor size so much that cancer cells penetrate the bones of the neck, lymph nodes.
- the fourth stage is characterized by the penetration of cancer cells into adjacent tissues:
- stage 4A - cranial nerves can be affected and further nasopharyngeal tissue lesions occur;
- stage 4B is characterized by the penetration of atypical cancer cells into lymph nodes that are located near the clavicles, with the nodes becoming enlarged and this can be observed even with external examination. The size of the nodes near the clavicles can reach 5-6 cm.
- at stage 4B is metastasizing to adjacent tissues.
What is the method used to diagnose the disease?
The diagnosis can be performed using several basic methods.
The inspection is carried out using a small mirror that has a long handle and allows a deep look into the throat. So, an outwardly visible change in the tissues of the throat can be detected.
Also is performed palpation of the throat and base of the neck - so the size of the lymph nodes located on the neck is revealed.
This method of diagnosis of the disease is performed using a special tool - a rhinoscope, which is equipped with a light source. This is how the nasal cavity is examined for neoplasms in this area, and a sample of tissues from this area can be taken - a biopsy.
The photo shows the diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer with the help of the
X-ray examination is carried out in the chest area, as well as the base of the skull.
This method allows you to obtain the most accurate results and to deliver the correct diagnosis on time.
These methods determine the quality of patient coordination, its intellectual level, the strength of the muscles of the body, the work of the sense organs. In this case, the nervous tissues of both the spinal cord and the brain tissues are examined.
Laboratory analysis of
These methods allow obtaining the whole range of necessary data on the general state of health of the patient, blood tests, urine and others are taken for this.
After the analysis, a method of treatment is developed, procedures and preparations are prescribed to stop the pathological process and restore the normal functioning of the body.
Positron emission tomography
This type of tomography allows to detect the presence in the tissues of the nasopharynx of atypical malignant cells. To do this, the method of introducing a certain dose of radioactive glucose into the vein is applied.
After the diagnosis is made, the general health condition of the patient is analyzed, and optimal treatment is prescribed.
Treatment of nasopharyngeal tumors
All types of cancers are usually characterized by a sluggish character of the initial stages of their development, and this nasopharyngeal disease also has not clearly pronounced symptoms. And due to implicit signs of its development in the first two stages, treatment begins already in the stage when the disease begins to progress.
This method of treatment can be applied only twice. Before the surgery, it allows to reduce the rate of division of cancer cells, and after the operation to remove the tumor - to prevent the recurrence of the disease.
The main disadvantage of this type of treatment should be considered its negative impact on cells of healthy tissues.
Radiotherapy today is considered to be one of the most effective methods of affecting tumors of a malignant nature when they are localized in the nasopharynx.
The special feature of the method is its very clear impact on the affected area - this is achieved by a clear beam direction, which allows to exclude the impact and damage to healthy tissues.
This method can remove small nasopharyngeal tumors in size.
Chemical products can also be used to treat a growing cancerous tumor located in the nasopharynx.
If all of the above methods do not improve the patient's condition, surgery to remove the tumor is used. In this case, depending on the size of it can be removed and adjacent tissue of neighboring organs.
Survival prognosis and prevention measures
Survival of patients after treatment is largely dependent on the stage of the disease - the earlier it was detected, the more likely it is to stop the pathological process and restore the normal functioning of the nasopharynx.