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Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention$
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Michael Thun, Martha S. Linet, James R. Cerhan, Christopher A. Haiman, and David Schottenfeld

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190238667

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190238667.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

(p.489) 26 Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention

Ellen T. Chang

Allan Hildesheim

Oxford University Press

The main epithelial malignancy arising in the nasopharynx is nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Although rare throughout most of the world, NPC has a unique geographic distribution, with high-risk endemic areas in southern China and parts of Southeast Asia, intermediate incidence rates elsewhere in Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Arctic, the Middle East, and among Asian and Pacific Islander migrants, and very low risk in other areas. The great majority of NPC cases worldwide are non-keratinizing tumors; these predominate in endemic, high-incidence areas and comprise up to half of tumors in low-incidence populations. The other histologic subtype of NPC, keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, accounts for 40%–50% of cases in low-incidence areas. Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a necessary but not sufficient cause of non-keratinizing NPC, though it is more weakly associated with keratinizing squamous cell tumors. Tobacco smoking increases the risk of both subtypes.

Keywords:   nasopharyngeal carcinoma, nasopharynx, cancer, risk, Asia, China, Epstein-Barr virus

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