Nasopharynx (Nose) Cancer - FAQ

Frequently asked questions

A: As there are no known causes for cancer of the nasal cavity and nasopharynx, there is no proven method to prevent these cancers.

However, there are some lifestyle habits you can adopt that may lower the risk:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid exposure to high levels of certain substances such as nickel, leather and textile dust

Food high in nitrosamines, such as salted fish, are also associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

A: A stuffy nose, nasal bleeding, and a constant runny nose are symptoms of nose cancer. However, these symptoms are also the same as many common and less serious conditions such as a cold or sinusitis.

If your symptoms are severe and you have concerns, consult a specialist.

A: Nasopharyngeal cancer is usually aggressive, so it can develop and spread rapidly beyond the nasopharynx. Most of the time, it spreads to nearby areas, such as lymph nodes in the neck.

A: Like other cancers, nasopharyngeal cancer can recur after treatment.

If the cancer does recur, it usually occurs within the first 2 – 3 years after initial treatment.

A: Yes, having a first degree (i.e. parents, siblings, children) family member with nasopharyngeal cancer increases your chances of developing the condition.

It is unknown if this is due to inherited genes, environmental factors, or a combination of the two.

A: Nasal polyps are usually noncancerous, and are often linked to other conditions such as asthma and hay fever that cause inflammation and trigger nasal polyps to grow.

However, if your symptoms of nasal polyps persist or become severe, consult your doctor to ensure they are not signs of cancer.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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