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Nasopharyngeal Cancer (Nose Cancer)

Nasopharyngeal Cancer (Nose Cancer) - Treatments

Treatment for NPC depends on the following factors: 

  • Size, type and location of the tumour 
  • Stage of the disease 
  • The patient’s general state of health 
The main treatment for NPC is radiation therapy. Some patients may also require radiation therapy in combination with chemotherapy. Surgery may be required in some patients with persistent or relapsed disease after initial radiation treatment. 

An individual with cancer should be assessed by a specialist to determine which treatment is best suited for them. 

Radiotherapy/Radiation therapy 

Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, uses powerful and targeted x-ray beams to kill cancer cells, and can be given to the region that covers the nasopharynx, the neck and down to the collarbone to treat NPC. A new modality of radiotherapy known as Proton Therapy, allows radiation to be delivered to the tumour, yet sparing the normal tissues better than the conventional x-ray radiotherapy. 

Receiving radiation treatment is a painless process, though radiation therapy to the head and neck can cause some cumulative side effects over the entire course of treatment; such as sores in the throat or mouth, hearing loss and dry mouth. Your doctor will discuss with you how to manage these side effects while undergoing treatment. 


Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cancer cells in the body. In patients with localised NPC, chemotherapy may be offered before the start of radiotherapy, during the radiation treatment, and after the completion of radiotherapy. When combined with radiation, chemotherapy can improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy. In patients with advanced NPC, chemotherapy may be recommended to help control the growth of the cancer. 


Surgery is not a common treatment for NPC and is usually reserved for cases where the cancer recurs after initial treatment. In cases where there is a small cancer recurrence at the nasopharynx or in the lymph nodes of the neck, surgery may be considered to treat the recurrence. This may be performed either through open surgery or endoscopic (keyhole) surgery through the nose. However, suitability for these procedures is best determined after appropriate scans and consultation with your surgical oncologist. 

For more information on NPC, please click here.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer (Nose Cancer) - Preparing for surgery

Nasopharyngeal Cancer (Nose Cancer) - Post-surgery care