IT'S hay fever season – so chances are you have a blocked nose.
When the pollen count is high is can be easy to mistake an allergy with something more serious – like nose cancer.
The disease, also known as nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) – affects the nasopharynx.
This is the upper part of the pharynx (throat) behind the nose.
In the UK, about 260 people are diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer each year, the NHS says.
Most people with the disease won't recognise the symptoms until it's at a much later stage.
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This is because the symptoms can masquerading as a blocked nose.
It's the sort of feeling you have when you try and blow your nose in a tissue, but the bunged up feeling doesn't subside.
And like with any cancer, the earlier it's caught, the better the prognosis.
A 2021 study of 184 of these cancer cases in Pakistan found more than 70 per cent were initially diagnosed with stage four disease.
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At this late stage, the cancer is likely to have spread to nearby structures such as the eyes, according to Very Well Health.
The 5 most common symptoms of nose cancer
The most common symptoms of nasal and sinus cancer are:
- a blocked nose that does not go away and usually only affects 1 side
- a decreased sense of smell
- mucus running from your nose – this can be bloody
- mucus draining into the back of your nose and throat
But at a later stage, signs include:
- pain or numbness in the face, particularly in the upper cheek, that does not go away
- swollen glands in the neck
- partial loss of vision or double vision
- a bulging eye
- a watering eye that does not go away
- pain or pressure in 1 ear
- a persistent lump or growth on your face, nose or roof of your mouth
Who is most at risk?
Dr Keng Hua said there are certain genetic factors that could make someone more prone to nose cancer,
Speaking to CNA Lifestyle the expert said that men are over twice as likely to develop NPC than females.
He explained that women could somewhat be protected from NPC due to higher oestrogen levels.
“Others suggest that it could be due to smoking since the habit is more prevalent among men. However, there is no conclusive evidence", he added.
Having a family history of NPC is also another factor, with people of Southern Chinese heritage more at risk, he said.
"More than 70 per cent of cases occur in East and Southeast Asia."
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