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Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal Cancer Treatment continued...

Not all people with nasopharyngeal cancer can have surgery. Your doctor will consider the location and stage of your tumor when discussing your treatment options.

Biologic drugs. Biologic drugs affect how your body's immune system fights disease. They are also called monoclonal antibodies.

A biologic drug called Bevacizumab blocks production of a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Studies show that patients with nasopharyngeal cancer who have lower levels of VEGF are more likely to remain disease-free after treatment. Bevacizumab is currently being evaluated to see if it will help improve your overall survival when combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy. Other biologic drugs are also under investigation and have shown promising results in clinical trials.

Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. By itself, it is not usually helpful for treating nasopharyngeal cancer. But it may help you live longer when combined with radiotherapy or biological drugs.

Palliative therapy. At this time, there is no cure for head and neck cancer that has spread, or metastasized. The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and make you as comfortable as possible. This is called palliative therapy.

Clinical trials. If treatment does not work, consider joining a clinical trial. Researchers are always testing new ways to treat cancer, and they need your help. Ask your doctor or nurse if there are any clinical trials on nasopharyngeal cancer in your area.

Can Nasopharyngeal Cancer Be Prevented?

Taking these steps may lower your risk of nasopharyngeal cancer:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid salt-cured fish and meats
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not drink a lot of alcohol

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on December 05, 2013

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