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What Are The First Symptoms Of Nasopharyngeal Cancer & How Do You Test For It?

Nasopharyngeal cancer is rare cancer that causes the formation of tumors in the nasopharynx. It is located behind the nose connecting nose and throat. It is difficult to examine and detect. Its causes are not clear. It is found in various studies that EBV infection, genetic inheritance, and dietary habits may cause nasopharyngeal cancer. Its symptoms may not appear initially. Its symptoms involve the appearance of a lump in the throat, bloody saliva, nasal congestion, ringing in ears, hearing loss and many more. It is curable cancer if detected in early stages.

What Are The First Symptoms Of Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

What Are The First Symptoms Of Nasopharyngeal Cancer & How Do You Test For It?

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer of nasopharynx that can affect any person at any age. it is also called nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The nasopharynx is the portion that connects the nose with the pharynx (throat). It is located above the back of the throat just behind the nose. The tumors develop in this area. It cannot be seen. Its initial symptoms either do not appear or are similar to other conditions of this area.(1)

The symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer do not appear initially. If it appears, the possible symptoms include-

The Appearance Of Lumps In The Neck- 3 out of 4 people with nasopharyngeal cancer feel a soft mass or lump in the backside of the neck. They are usually without pain and tender. They may spread to lymph nodes.(2)

Headache– headache is the initial symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer. In various studies, it is observed that the headache in NPC happens on one side of the head. This type of headache is often remains ignored and misdiagnosed as NPC is a rare condition and other disease conditions have similar headaches.(2)

Ringing In The Ear- ringing in the ear (tinnitus) is one of the early symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer. It is characterized by sound heard in the ear without any external source. It is not life-threatening but it can cause a frustrating sensation in our daily life. This tumor can affect one’s hearing.(2)

Nasal Blockage- nasal blockage develops due to the growth of tumor in the nasopharynx. This blockage can’t be cleared off by blowing the nose. It leads to a feeling of breathlessness and congestion.(2)

Loss Of Hearing- the tumors of nasopharyngeal cancer may cause loss of hearing. Hearing loss usually happens in one ear. It is hard to find out the exact cause whether it is related to ear, nose or throat. With the growth of the tumor, you may feel fullness in the ear.(2)

Bloody Discharge From The Nose- many conditions may cause bloody discharge from the nose. It may resemble sinus infection. NPC may also cause bloody discharge from the nose.(2)

Double Vision– is a common symptom of many cancer conditions and other health problems. It happens due to compression of the cranial nerve. It is a rare symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer. It usually appears in the advanced stages of nasopharyngeal cancer.(2)

Numbness In The Face- numbness, and tingling in the lower side of the face is the common symptom of nasopharyngeal cancer. It is located on the lower side of the face on one side only. It rarely causes facial paralysis which appears in nasopharyngeal cancer when other causes like infection, nerve damage or anxiety are present along with nasopharyngeal cancer.(2)

Frequent Ear Infections And Sore Throat– frequent ear infections are common symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer. Soreness in the throat is another initial symptom of this rare cancer.(1)

How Do You Test For It?

The diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer is difficult as it resembles various other health problems in these areas. It is diagnosed by physical examination, medical history, and other diagnostic tests. These diagnostic tests involve biopsy, CBC, Epstein-Barr virus test and many others discussed above.


Nasopharyngeal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the nasopharynx. It usually does not represent any symptom initially. If symptoms appear, it includes the appearance of a lump in the neck due to swollen lymph nodes, hearing loss, bloody discharge from nose and others discussed above.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 4, 2021

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