Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (pediatric)

What is nasopharyngeal carcinoma?
It is a type of head and neck cancer that occurs behind the nose and above the back of the throat. This is a rare form of cancer that more commonly affects people from southeast Asia and northern Africa. In Jordan, the disease is seen in both young and old individuals.

What causes nasopharyngeal carcinoma in children?
The exact cause is unknown, but in children, it is believed that a common viral infection called EBV plays a major role in developing this disorder.

What are the symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma?
• Sore throat
• Nosebleeds
• Trouble breathing speaking
• Ear problems: pain or ringing in the ear
• Trouble hearing
• Lump in the nose or neck
• Headaches

How is nasopharyngeal carcinoma diagnosed?
In order to accurately diagnose and stage nasopharyngeal cancer, the physician may order the following tests:
• MRI and/or CT scan to get a complete image of the throat and surrounding areas to determine whether there are any tumors or abnormal cells
• Fiber-optic  endoscopy for upper airway
• Naposcope which is a small tube with a camera that is inserted into the nose to look for any signs of cancer
• Biopsy to remove any tissue from the nasopharynx and examine closely under a microscope for any abnormalities
• Chest x-ray to detect any spread of the tumor to the lungs
• Frequent monitoring of presence of the EBV virus in the blood

How is nasopharyngeal carcinoma in children treated at KHCC?
Treatments include radiation and chemotherapy. Frequently, the tumor and lymph nodes disappear but radiation therapy is administered very carefully to avoid any complications or long-term side effects. Special attention to oral hygiene with frequent visits to the dentist is necessary.

Pediatric patients receive top quality care from a multidisciplinary team of pediatric oncology specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating head and neck tumors and other childhood tumors.

Supportive Care
The pediatric multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that pediatric cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: