Patient Care

Nasopharyngeal Cancer/Nasopharynx Cancer

What is Nasopharyngeal Cancer/Nasopharynx Cancer (NPC)?

NPC begins at the junction of the back of the nose and the top of the throat (pharynx), an area called the nasopharynx. The cells lining the nasopharynx can become cancerous and give rise to NPC – a form of nose cancer. This usually happens when the cells behave abnormally and a cancerous lump is formed in the nasopharynx.

What are the signs and symptoms of NPC?

These are some common symptoms of NPC:

  • A painless lump in the neck due to enlarged lymph node
  • Blood in saliva
  • Hearing loss or blocked ear/ears which do not resolve
  • Blocked nose
  • Blood stained nasal discharge
  • Ringing sound in the ear

Please consult your doctor if you experience symptoms.

How is NPC diagnosed?

If NPC is suspected, your doctor may suggest performing a nasal endoscopy. This involves inserting a thin flexible tube (with a camera mounted at one end) into your nasopharynx through your nose. A small tissue sample (biopsy) may also be removed for testing.

There is currently no firm way to prevent NPC. Family members of NPC patients may wish to be screened.

What are the treatment options for NPC?
Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is commonly used to treat NPC cancer. NPC patients are usually treated with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) which focuses high-energy radiation beams from outside the body on the cancer, killing the cancer cells in the process.


Chemotherapy is usually used as a supplementary treatment to radiation therapy and is either taken as a pill or through the vein.

Two common ways in which it can be administered are:

At the same time as radiotherapy

This can enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy but the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be difficult to handle.

After radiotherapy

This is used to kill any remaining cancer cells after radiotherapy.


Surgery is seldom used as the initial treatment for NPC. It can be considered as an option if the cancer recurs after treatment and if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Nasopharyngeal Cancer/Nasopharynx Cancer' AND
  • Institution
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top