Head and Senior Consultant
Signs & Symptoms
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.
What causes it
The cause of the disease is focused around three main factors - Epstein-Barr Viral Infection, ethnic & familial trends, and diet.
About the condition
In Singapore, the most common head and neck cancer occurs at the junction of the back of the nose, and the top of the throat (pharynx) called Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC). This is a form of nose cancer.
There are approximately 300 new cases of NPC diagnosed each year and it is the sixth most common type of cancer in Singapore.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
The diagnosis is made on biopsy of the tumour in the nasopharynx, which shows undifferentiated carcinoma.
Treatment of NPC usually involves radiation therapy with possible chemotherapy. We have set protocols of treatment based on our experience over the years in treating this cancer.
For small recurrent tumours, minimally invasive surgery can be performed. We continue to perform many trials on new treatment modalities (novel therapeutics) in NPC.
Data from our series of patients here suggest a strong first degree familiar trend and we offer screening for first degree relatives. The risk of a family member getting NPC is higher than in one without a close family member with NPC. We have started a free screening programme to assess the efficacy of such a programme. This screening programme is available currently and you may call the following number for more details or an appointment at 91115561 (Ms Serene Siow).