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Single Stuffy Ear Is Probably the Warning of Nasopharynx Cancer

      Nasopharynx cancer is most common in certain regions and certain populations, especially in Taiwan and the southeast coast of mainland China. According to the statistics of the cancer incidence rates in Taiwan, nasopharynx cancer ranked 10th among men and 18th among women. The nasopharynx is behind the nasal cavity and above the oropharynx, which is anatomically invisible; thus, its examination requires the use of a posterior rhinoscope or nasopharyngeal fiber-optic endoscope by the otorhinolaryngologist. The early symptoms of nasopharynx cancer are not very evident, making early diagnosis difficult.

      Lin Lihui, the attending physician of the Otorhinolaryngology Department in Taipei City Hospital explains: “One end of the auditory tube opens towards the nasopharynx side, which has the function of balancing the pressure of the middle ear cavity. When nasopharynx cancer influences the auditory tube, such symptoms as stuffy ear, tinnitus, otopiesis,middle ear effusion and hearing disorder will appear.”

      Another common symptom of nasopharynx cancer is unexplained neck mass. As the cancer cells will transfer from the lymphatic system to the cervical lymph nodes, and normal people have lymph nodes in their necks, the correct diagnosis must rely on the medical history of the patients and a thorough otolaryngological examination. Besides, continuous nasal discharge or sputum with blood are also symptoms of nasopharynx cancer, which are caused by the surface festering of the tumor vessel proliferation; blood is often found in the first sputum after getting up in the morning.

       Lin Lihui says: “Stage I of nasopharynx cancer should adopt radiotherapy alone in principle; Stage II and more advanced stages should consider synchronous chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The five-year survival rate after the treatment is very high. Therefore, if one is unfortunately diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer, please receive formal treatments immediately to avoid further health deterioration; don’t reject radiotherapy, and pursue regular follow-ups after treatment to check if the tumor recurs.