Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among the ethnic Asian groups.
It is highly prevalent in the Southern part of China and adjacent Asian countries. Incidence rates along the southern coast range from 10 to as high as 300 per 100,000 in some provinces in China.
Globally, the incidence rate is low for those who are non-Chinese, except in some ethnic populations such as the indigenous peoples of Greenland, Alaska, North Africa, those along the Mediterranean Coasts and the Canadian Inuit. However, due to the large Chinese emigrants’ populations in North America, Europe and the rest of the world, the incidence rates have increased significantly in these countries normally considered non-endemic.
Statistics have shown that males are affected much more frequently than females, with a lifetime risk for developing NPC of 1 in 53 for males and 1 in 131 for females. After 15 to 20 years of age, the incidence of NPC starts to climb steadily until it reaches a peak age of 50 to 54.
The annual mortality for this cancer exceeds 50,000 annually, a tragic statistic because NPC can be cured when detected early.