Nasopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the nasopharynx. Ethnic background and being exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus can affect the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. NPC is extremely common in China accounting for 18% of all cancers in the country and also quite common in Taiwan. It is sometimes referred to as Cantonese cancer because it occurs in about 25 cases per 100,000 people in this region, 25 times higher than the rest of the world.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma can be treated by surgery, by chemotherapy, or by radiotherapy. The expression of EBV latent proteins within undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma can be potentially exploited for immune-based therapies.The chance that EBV will fuel cancer growth goes up if you eat a diet rich in salt-cured fish and meat. That type of diet is common in Asia, particularly China. Scientists believe that chemicals in such foods further damage the DNA in cells.