Nose cancer: What is it?

Nose cancer, or nasopharyngeal cancer, occurs when the cells lining the nasopharynx – the area behind the nose and just above the back of the throat – become cancerous,” explains Dr Terence Tan, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), a member of the SingHealth group. Generally, nose cancer affects men more than women, and typically occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. If you have a family member with nose cancer, you may be genetically predisposed to it.

​Nose cancer signs & symptoms

If you exhibit any of the following signs and symptoms, you should consult a doctor to rule out nose cancer.

  • One or more painless lumps in the nose or on the neck
  • Nasal obstruction or stuffiness
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Blood-stained sputum (phlegm)
  • Hearing problems, such as a change or loss in hearing, ringing in the ear
  • Difficulty breathing or speaking or swallowing
  • Ear ache or ear discharge
  • Frequent headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss for unknown reason

A painless lump in the neck most common symptom of nose cancer

In 75 per cent of newly diagnosed nose cancer cases, there is a painless lump in the neck. Do note that some of the signs and symptoms listed above may be caused by a number of problems and may not indicate the presence of cancer. However, if any of these symptoms persists or bothers you, please consult your doctor, who will be able to assess if these signs and symptoms actually mean nose cancer.

Read on to know more about nose cancer risk factors and treatment options.

Ref: P16