Almost 130,000 cases of this cancer were reported in 2018, the latest available data. Although nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer, AICR analyzed it separately from other head and neck cancers.
The nasopharynx lies behind your nose and at the upper part of the throat.
AICR’s latest report analyzing the global evidence related to certain lifestyle factors and nasopharyngeal cancer found that eating high amounts of a specific Chinese-style of dried fish increased risk of this cancer.
Lifestyle and nasopharyngeal cancer risk.
There is strong evidence that eating high amounts of Cantonese-style salted fish increases the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Cantonese-style salted fish is generally made by drying the fish, using less salt and a higher degree of fermentation during the drying process than fish preserved (or salted) by other means.
- The link between nasopharyngeal cancer and fish does not apply to fish prepared, or salted, in other ways.
Smoking tobacco is a cause of nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Occupational exposure
Occupational exposure to wood dust and formaldehyde is a cause of nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Infectious agents
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is a cause of nasopharyngeal cancer. Yet, this virus alone is not enough to cause nasopharyngeal cancer to develop.
Foods that fight cancer.
No single food can protect you against cancer by itself. But research shows that a diet filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other plant foods helps lower risk for many cancers.
The science of survival.
AICR’s health guides and recommendations are developed from research that focuses on how nutrition and lifestyle affect the prevention, treatment, and survival of cancer. Paramount to our updates is the Continuous Update Project which helps you stay on top of new findings, and understand the data that sits at the center of our work.