Nose cancer is the 5th most common cancer in males and 10th most common cancer in female in Singapore. 200 new cases are diagnosed each year. It affects males more than females. 80% are in the 31 to 60 year age group. It affects mainly the Chinese and a small percentage of Malay.

What are the risk factors?

Ebstein Barr Virus has been associated with nose cancer. Blood test for the EBV virus is used as a screening tool for nose cancer. If someone in your family has nose cancer, you have a 15 to 20 % risk of developing the cancer. Screening is important for this group of individuals. Diet high in salted fish and nitrosamines are also associated risk of the cancer.

How does it present?

50% of nose cancer patient present with neck lumps.

  • Blood Stained Sputum
  • Blocked Nose
  • Mucus and Bleeding from the Nose
  • Hearing Loss
  • Hoarse Voice
  • Swallowing Difficulty

As the nose cancer starts in the depth of the nose, most are not discovered till late. Only one third of patients are diagnosed in the early stages.

What are the treatment options for nose cancer?

For early cancers, treatment is primarily by radiotherapy. In later stages, most will require combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Early detection has a high rate of cure.

How is screening done and who should be screened?

Screening includes a detailed history and an examination of the post nasal space which is an area at the back of the nose. This can be done with a mirror or more accurately by an endoscope.

Individuals with symptoms of neck lumps, nose bleed, bloodstained sputum and hearing loss should have an ENT check. Individuals who have family members who have nose cancer should also go for regular checks.

Remember early detection and early treatment means cure is possible.

Book an appointment with HealthSense Specialist Dr. YT Pang to look at your ENT problems and get cured.