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You might have a nasoendoscopy to help your doctor diagnose nasal and paranasal sinus cancer.

What is it?

A nasoendoscopy is a procedure to look at the:

  • inside and back of the nose
  • back of the tongue and throat
  • voice box

Your doctor passes a thin flexible tube called a nasoendoscope through your nostril up your nose and into your throat. The tube has a camera and a bright light at the end so they can check for any abnormal looking areas.

Before your test

There are no special preparations for a nasoendoscopy.

You can eat and drink and take your medicines as normal. 

What happens during the test

A nasoendoscopy usually takes place in an outpatient clinic. It lasts only a few minutes. You will be awake and able to speak to the doctor. They might ask you to say some words, noises or sentences out loud or puff out your cheeks.

Your doctor passes the nasendoscope up your nose and down your throat. This can be uncomfortable but does not usually hurt. Your eyes might water, and you might feel like coughing. Occasionally people have a slight nose bleed after the procedure.

Your doctor might ask if you would like a local anaesthetic sprayed in your nose or on the back of your throat 10 minutes beforehand to numb it.

After your test

You can usually go home straight after your test. 

If you had the anaesthetic spray, you can’t eat or drink until the anaesthetic wears off and your throat feels normal again. This may take about an hour.

Nasoendoscopy is a very safe procedure but your nurse will tell you who to contact if you have any problems afterwards. Your doctors will make sure the benefits of having a nasoendoscopy outweigh any possible risks.

Getting your results

You should get your results within 1 or 2 weeks at a follow up appointment. 

Waiting for test results can be a very worrying time. You might have contact details for a specialist nurse who you can contact for information if you need to. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.

You can also contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 for information and support. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Contact the doctor who arranged the test if you haven’t heard anything after a couple of weeks.

If your specialist sees an abnormality in your nose, you will probably need to go into hospital for a day to have a panendoscopy. The nasoendoscope is too fine to take samples of tissue (biopsies). But a panendoscope is thicker and your specialist can use it to take a biopsy of the abnormal area.