Although it is a rare type of cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer is quite deadly if not treated properly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is known that there are as many as 80 thousand new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer each year. When compared with other types of cancer, this number is relatively small.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of cancer that attacks the respiratory tract located above the pharynx (throat) and behind the nose. Because of its location in the respiratory tract, many people wonder whether nasopharyngeal cancer is contagious. Check out the answer below, yes.
Is nasopharyngeal cancer contagious?
Actually, there isn't any type of cancer that is contagious. The reason, this disease occurs due to a growth disorder in the cell and eventually converts cells into cancer cells. So, this happens in the body and nothing can make it transmitted to other people like an infectious disease.
Meanwhile, for nasopharyngeal cancer itself, it is not certain what caused it. However, experts say that there are several risk factors that can cause this disease, namely:
- Have a family member who has experienced this type of cancer.
- Exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
- Exposure to Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Frequently consume salted foods.
Yes, one of the risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer is exposure to EBV and HPV viruses. So, the thing you should pay attention to is to prevent transmission of these viruses. Because, when this virus has entered the body then damages cells and eventually becomes cancerous, then there is no longer possible transmission.
Usually, after the virus infects the body, it takes a long time to develop into cancer. In addition, not all people infected with the virus will experience cancer, this depends on the response of each body.
How to prevent transmission of EBV to nasopharyngeal cancer?
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection has been shown to increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. EBV itself is the most common type of virus and spread everywhere. Most of you may have had this virus infection without realizing it. Because, when the virus enters, it will not be immediately active and cause symptoms.
The most important spread of EBV is through exchange of body fluids, especially saliva. So, you can get EBV if you use personal items with people who have EBV, such as toothbrushes, drinking in the same glass, sharing straws, using the same plates and cutlery (without first washing). In addition, transmission can also occur through kissing, sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, and organ transplants.
The thing you can do to prevent this virus from attacking you is by not borrowing any personal items from others, especially those you don't know. Also avoid kissing and having sex with people you don't know about their medical history.
So what about prevention of HPV?
Even though the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer is lower in people affected by HPV, it is still possible that this virus causes cancer. So, you should avoid transmission of HPV which is usually transmitted through unsafe sexual intercourse and the habit of mutually sexual partners. So, here are ways to prevent transmission:
- Having sexual intercourse safely. Don't forget to always use a condom when you have sex. You should also not switch partners to minimize transmission.
- Perform the HPV vaccine, which has been proven to prevent viral infection.
- Regular Pap smears. This examination is recommended to be done every 3 years for a woman over the age of 21 years.
In conclusion, there are no contagious cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer. The thing you have to do is prevent the spread of risk factors.
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