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Presentation and epidemiology of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Jordan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2007

M. F. Kamal
Department of Pathology, University of Jordan, Jordan.
S. M. Samarrai
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Jordan, Jordan.
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A retrospective study, which highlights some of the aspects of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) as seen in a large hospital for 20 years in Jordan, was performed. Collected data showed that NPC accounted for one per cent of all malignant tumours during the period. The present series showed an age range from six to 89 years old with a mean of 39.5 years. There was a bimodal peak at presentation at 16 to 20 and 46 to 50 years. A high incidence of childhood NPC was also noticed (two per cent of all childhood malignant tumours). The difficulty in early diagnosis urges for better awareness of the tumour especially among general practitioners. The tumour is still detected at an advanced stage with 34 per cent metastasis most frequently to bone. The study stresses the importance of full ENT examination in cases of persistent middle ear disease, recurrent or persistent nasal symptoms or headache, or neck swelling; and routine bone scanning for all cases with NPC. There is a need for prospective studies of the causal relationship of NPC to environmental factors including Epstein-Barr (EB) virus as well as occupational and domestic hazards.

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