Nasopharyngeal or nose cancer, is the 8th most common cancer among Singaporean men. It is a type of cancer that is not common in Europe or the USA and tends to be more frequent among Chinese males between the age of 35 to 55.
Causes and Risks
85% of cancers in the head and neck are linked to tobacco use. Alcohol consumption is also a risk factor. Environmental factors such as air pollution, as well as dust and fume exposure, also increase the risk of developing cancers in the sinuses and nasal cavity.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Similar to breast cancer, nose cancer starts with a lump. Patients typically notice a swelling, which is then examined by a doctor with the help of a nasoscope. A small piece of tissue from the lump or ulcer is removed for a biopsy.
Once the cancer is diagnosed, further tests such a blood tests, x-rays and scans of the head and neck, as well as a bone and liver scan, are carried out to see if and how far the cancer has spread.
Surgery may not always be required in nasopharyngeal cancer. Early nose cancer is treated by radiotherapy. In cases where cancer may have spread, chemotherapy may be used as well.