The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat, behind the nasal cavity. Your nostrils lead to your nasopharynx; openings on each side of your nasopharynx lead to your ears. Cancer here typically starts in the squamous cells. It is most common in people who have had the Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms may include a lump in the throat; sore throat; trouble breathing, hearing, or speaking; ear pain or fluid accumulation in the ear; and headache. Nasopharyngeal cancer is also called throat cancer.