Nose cancer is a malignant tumor growing in the upper part of the throat. Nose cancer symptoms may be missing in early stages. Nose cancer treatment is usually addressed to non-surgical options due to the complicated location of the tumor and inability to remove it completely. Below we will provide more detailed information on how to catch the early warning symptoms, as well as what are the modern nose cancer treatment options available.
Nose cancer also known as Nasopharynx cancer is a condition where there is an abnormal tissue growth in the nasopharynx which is the area behind the nose above the mouth and throat.
HOW DOES NOSE CANCER DEVELOP?
It starts as an abnormal growth which is known as a tumour. The tumour develops when cells present in the nasopharynx divide uncontrollably thereby producing extra tissue. A nasal growth can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
ARE THERE CERTAIN PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DEVELOPING NOSE CANCER?
Men between ages 35 and 55 years are more susceptible to developing nose cancer than the women. It is also often seen among the Chinese (mostly the Cantonese), and is not a major occurrence in the United States or Europe.
NOSE CANCER SYMPTOMS
The nose cancer symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion and stuffiness which worsens overtime
- Pus draining from the nose
- Blockage of one side of the nose
- Pain above or below the eyes
- Decreased sense of smell
- Numbness or pain in parts of the face
- Loosening or numbness of the teeth
- Pin or pressure In one of the ears
- Gradual swelling of lymph nodes in the neck
- Trouble opening the mouth
- Loss or change in vision
- Constant watering In the eye
- Bulging of one eye
- Growth or mass of the face, nose or palate
NOSE CANCER TREATMENT OPTIONS
There are various available options in the treatment of NPC in which the ENT specialist can choose from, the choice of a treatment method depends on the stage of the cancer and the overall general health of the patient. These treatments include:
This is a treatment method that involves the use of one or a combination of toxic drugs. These drugs circulate the bloodstream killing the rapidly growing cells (including healthy ones) thereby alleviating the NPS symptoms.
The doctor recommends this if the NPC is spread to nearby lymph nodes. Dissection removes the cancerous lymph nodes after a resection of the primary tumour.
This makes use of external energy beams in milling the cancer cells. It is the most common method in the treatment of NPC, this is carried out in various ways which include:
- Brachytherapy: This makes use of thin metal rods containing radioactive materials used to deliver radiation to cancer cells.
- Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT): This is a computer guided process which delivers precise radiation beams which kill the cancer cells and spare the healthy cells.
This is recommended for the removal of nasopharyngeal tumours in NPC patients who do not respond to the radiation therapy treatment.
DIAGNOSING NOSE CANCER
- Physical examination: Questions about symptoms and overall health condition are asked by the doctor. If nasopharyngeal cancer is suspected, examination is carried out to check for swelling and lumps in the neck, the nasopharynx may also be examined.
- Nasal endoscopy: Nasoendoscopy is a minimally invasive, medical procedure carried out to diagnose any nasal conditions. It helps to examine the interior surfaces of the nose and allows visualization of its cavities not possible by standard examination. The procedure is performed with the help of a nasal endoscope which is a medical device consisting of a thin, rigid tube with fiberoptic cables to light-up the inside of the nose. The endoscope is then connected to a light source and a video camera to project magnified images on a screen. During the procedure your doctor may capture or record the images for further documentation.
- Biopsy: This involves the examination of tissues extracted from the affected area. On detection of cancer, other tests will be carried out to find out how far it is spread.
- Chest X-ray: This is performed if suspected for diagnosing lung cancer which shows up on x-rays as white grey mass.
- CT scan: A computerized tomography (CT) scan can also be performed after carrying out an x-ray. This makes use of x-rays and a computer to create detailed imaging of the internal body. This makes use of a contrast medium which is a liquid containing dye that allows the lungs show up more clearly on the scan images. It is a painless process which takes 10 to 30 minutes.
- PET scan: Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is a computerised scan which shows stage of the cancer, it is also able to detect where the active cancer cells are. The PET scan not only detects the cancer but also warns the doctor if there is ant metastasis in other parts of the body.