Canadians and NPC

We often think of nasopharyngeal cancer as a disease that primarily affects people outside of North America, but really NPC can affect many Canadians, too.

It is true that the nations that are most affected by nasopharyngeal cancer are in South Asia, such as China, Singapore and Indonesia, as well as countries in North Africa and around the Mediterranean Rim. But NPC is also present in Canada. Canada’s population is made up of people from all over the world, and so includes individuals who are more susceptible to this disease. Also, though, nasopharyngeal cancer is a cancer that affects Canada’s Inuit population. One of the risk factors of NPC is eating large amounts of salted fish, a common food in most northern diets. As a result, Inuit populations have been found to be at a higher risk of NPC. There can also be issues with diagnosis and treatment in northern communities, because of their remoteness and the frequent lack of access to healthcare facilities.

So while we often think of nasopharyngeal cancer as a disease that affects other parts of the world, it is also a very real issue for many in Canada.