In Singapore, the most common head and neck cancer is the NPC, which occurs at the junction of the back of the nose and the top of the throat (pharynx). This is a form of nose cancer.
The cause of the disease is focused around three main factors - Epstein-Barr Viral Infection, ethnic & familial trends, as well as diet.
The majority of the NPC patients are detected at a late stage when patients present with lymph node enlargement in the neck. Other common presentations include blood stained sputum, nose bleeds, nose blockage, ear blockage, tinnitus (ringing sound in the ear) and hearing loss.
Diagnosis of NPC is made based on a biopsy of the tumour in the nasopharynx, which shows undifferentiated carcinoma.
The risk of a family member getting NPC is higher than in one without a close family member with NPC.
Treatment of NPC usually involves radiation therapy with possible chemotherapy.