Doctors are learning more about Nasopharyngeal cancer; ways to prevent it; the best way to treat it; and how to give the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following research areas may comprise new alternatives for patients with the help of clinical trials. Always talk with the doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.
- New medications – Immunotherapy, or biologic therapy, is a systemic treatment that the doctors designed to enhance the body’s natural defences to fight cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Another type of systemic treatment is based on the specific biologic characteristics used often; and are being tested in clinical trials. In other words, targeted therapy. People with NPC should talk to their doctors about the availability of these studies.
- Chemotherapy for recurrent or metastatic NPC – A recent phase 3 study showed that treating metastatic or recurrent NPC with a combination of cisplatin (available as a generic drug) and gemcitabine (Gemzar) worked better than using a combination of cisplatin and fluorouracil (5FU).
- Combining therapies – Doctors continue to research the best combinations of different therapies, like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, for different stages of NPC.
Palliative care/supportive care – Clinical trials are going on to find more acceptable ways of lessening symptoms and side effects of current cancer treatments to improve comfort and quality of life during treatment. This includes ways to relieve lymphedema, mouth sores, pain, dry mouth (xerostomia), and other side effects.