Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer of the nasopharynx, one of three sections that make up the throat. The nasopharynx connects the back of your nose to your mouth and is located above your soft palate and the dangling uvula. Because you can't see it and symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer don't always present, this condition can be hard to diagnose.
Three out of four people with nasopharyngeal cancer first notice the issue due to a soft lump or mass at the back of the neck. These masses usually aren't tender and tend to be painless when prodded. The lump is caused by the cancer having spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, which causes swelling. Lymph nodes are glands that contain the cells that help your immune system to operate, and they are found throughout the body. Usually, the lymph nodes are the size of a pea or smaller. If you discover a lump in your neck, your physician may perform a biopsy.
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