The nasopharynx is part of the upper aerodigestive tract and it lies at the back of the anterior nasal space. Due to its inaccessible location, lesions of the nasopharynx are not easily detected, and hence tumours of the nasopharynx may present only at a later stage. NPC is a malignant neoplasm that arises from the epithelium of this anatomical site. It has a low incidence in the western population but in the local context, it is seen more commonly amongst people of Southern Chinese and Javanese descent.
Types of NPC
World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies NPC into the following three types, based on their histological appearance:
In the local context, it is Type III that is by far the most common of the three.