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Read about the symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer, and when you should see your GP.

Possible symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer

Some people with nasopharyngeal cancer have no symptoms at all. But it is important that you tell your GP if you have any of the following symptoms for longer than 3 weeks:

  • a lump or growth anywhere in the neck area that does not go away after 3 weeks (this might  be the only sign you have)
  • hearing loss – usually on one side only 
  • ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • fluid collecting in your ear
  • blocked or stuffy nose – particularly if it’s only blocked on one side
  • blood stained discharge from your nose
  • headache
  • double vision
  • numbness of the lower part of your face
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • changes in your voice, such as hoarseness

If your GP suspects your symptoms could be because of nasopharyngeal cancer they will refer you to a specialist. 

When to see your GP

Tell your GP if you have any of these symptoms for longer than 3 weeks.

Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer. But it's important to get them checked by a doctor.

The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat. And the more likely it is that the treatment will be successful.

Last reviewed: 
16 Aug 2014
  • Textbook of uncommon cancers (4th edition)
    Raghavan D, Blanke C, Johnson D and others
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

  • Improving outcomes in head and neck cancers
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), November 2004

  • Referral for suspected cancer. A clinical practice guideline
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), June 2005

  • Diagnosis and Management of Head and Neck Cancer
    Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), October 2006

  • Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer: A quick reference guide
    The Scottish Government, March 2009

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