What is nasopharyngeal cancer?

The nasopharynx connects the back of your nose to the back of your mouth. Cancer that develops in the nasopharynx is called nasopharyngeal cancer. It is a rare cancer in the UK.

Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer

There are a number of symptoms that could be a sign of nasopharyngeal cancer, including a lump in the neck or hearing loss (usually on one side). 

Getting diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer

You see your GP if you have symptoms. They can refer you for tests or to see a specialist. One of the tests you might have is a nasendoscopy, which looks at the inside of your nose, throat and voice box.

Survival for nasopharyngeal cancer

Survival depends on many factors so you can only use these figures as a guide. Your doctor can give you information about your own outlook (prognosis).

Treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer

You usually have radiotherapy as part of your treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer. You might also have other treatments, such as chemotherapy. 

Types of nasopharyngeal cancer

The type of nasopharyngeal cancer means the type of cell the cancer started in. Non keratinising squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of nasopharyngeal cancer.

Stages of nasopharyngeal cancer

The stage of a cancer tells you about the size of the tumour and whether it has spread. Your doctor uses this information to help them decide on treatment.

Research and clinical trials for nasopharyngeal cancer

Researchers are continually looking to improve testing for nasopharyngeal cancer, and find better treatments with fewer side effects. Find out about some of this research and how you can take part in a clinical trial.

Living with nasopharyngeal cancer

A lot of practical and emotional support is available to you. This section covers information on coping, diet, sex, hearing loss and changes to eyesight, and provides details of other organisations for support.

Risks and causes of nasopharyngeal cancer

Anything that can increase your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Nasopharyngeal cancer is very rare in the UK. Risk factors include the Epstein Barr virus and smoking.

Last reviewed: 
02 Feb 2021
Next review due: 
02 Feb 2024
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