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Nasopharyngeal Cancer - EBV or HPV

caregiver99
Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2011

hi, my girlfriend was told she has Nasopharyngeal cancer and we are just waiting for the biopsy result before starting treatment. Does the result from pathologist tell if the cancer is EBV or HPV positive? or does the result just to confirm weather it is cancer or not?

Cathelen72's picture
Cathelen72
Posts: 33
Joined: Jun 2011

I am sorry to hear your friend has nasopharyngeal cancer. I too have NPC. I am three weeks post chemo/ radiation. I believe the pathology will or could tell you both. I know after my surgical biopsy where the took a piece of the tumor from the nasopharyx my oncologist confirm both that it was NPC and that I was ebv positive. I hope your friend is doing ok. This resource here is amazing and the support you receive from this site is like no other.

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1518
Joined: Jan 2010

I had to ask my local ENT to test my biopsy for HPV. My Stanford Doc orders the test up front.

Deb

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5602
Joined: Apr 2009

There are a lot of us here with NPC just sorry to hear your girlfriend has this too. More then likely she has the EBV as in most cases with NPC that is the virus that causes this type of cancer. For now just keep positive and hoping it is just a bad infection, but if not many of us are here to help you both along your journey in this fight.

Wishing you well
Hondo

caregiver99
Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2011

thanks all for responding. For prognosis purposes, I would think they test for EBV, HPV or non-viral types. I will ask the doctor when I meet him again.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Well, you would think they would, but I don't think it's standard practice in every medical facility to do so.

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1229
Joined: Aug 2009

Guessing that is what EBV stands for? I was positive for Epstein's Barr but thought that only HPV was responsible for cancer??? Point me to some reading on that if you have some.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Epstein-Barr virus is linked with NPC.  Just google EBV NPC link and a ton of stuff will come up to read.     Here is a blurb from ONE SITE :

Almost all nasopharyngeal cancer cells contain parts of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and most people with nasopharyngeal cancer have evidence of infection by this virus in their blood. Infection with EBV is very common throughout the world, often occurring in childhood. In the United States, where infection with this virus tends to occur in slightly older children, it often causes infectious mononucleosis ("mono"), usually in teens.

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1229
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a very bad case of infectious mononucleosis around ten years ago. This is the kind of thing you pray for as a tenager, give me the kissing disease. I get it at middle age. It was awful as I was convinced I had lung cancer. At the time I was working tons of OT and really ran myself down. I literally could not walk up a flight of stairs. Intersting link between EBV and nasopharyngeal cancer. I did google it and read where some think it can be related to other oral cancers. Funny how my doctors told me it wasn't related. Staggering that almost 95% of the population has this virus.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

As most have mentioned, I think it really depends on the MD and the facility for ordering the biopsy to be tested for HPV.

Two plus years ago when I first joined this forum, there wasn't a lot of MD's making the connection with head & neck cancer and HPV. Since then there has been a lot of media and it seems to be more widely known and looked for in patients, especially non-smokers.

My ENT was pretty current and knowledgeable and was suspect from day one that my tonsil cancer was HPV derived, and the biopsy later confirmed that.

Best,
John

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