The incidence of nasal cancer is quite rare and men are more likely to be affected than women. It constitutes about 0.5% of cancer cases and occurs more commonly in people of lower economic status.
More cases of the disease have been observed in Asia and other eastern countries than in Western countries but perhaps due to better diagnosis the number of cases is rising all over the world.
Nasal cancer is caused by a number of risk factors. The use of tobacco in any form leads to this cancer.
The more the use, the greater the risk. If you’ve had a transplant and you’re taking antirejection drugs it will increase the risk.
AIDS also lowers your body’s immunity and increases the chances of cancer. Sometimes viral infections cause bacteria to enter the nose and change the cells into cancerous ones.
There is a genetic trait involved here in that people can easily get cancer because of viruses in the nose.
If you already have a history of cancer then the chances of developing another cancer is higher, especially if there is tobacco usage involved. Pollution factors, such as smoke and sawdust, can cause irritation and continually breathing in these elements elevates the risk of nasal cancer.
If you find a lump in your nose or neck and have frequent headaches or problems with swallowing, breathing, talking or hearing then you need to get it checked.
You may have nasal discharge and bleeding but since these may, along with nasal congestion and the loss of smell, be the usual symptoms of a cold or some other infection it is likely to be ignored until a later stage of the disease.
There can be pain in the nose and ear and the neck and face may swell because the lymph glands are affected.
If you suspect that the above symptoms are not indicative of any common infection then see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, also known as an otolaryngologist.
He will assess your symptoms and decide what the cause could be. He may insert a nasoscope to check the nasopharynx and nasal cavities and take a specimen of the tissue for biopsy.
You may also be asked to have an MRI so the doctor can see the size of the tumor.
Radiation and chemotherapy will be suggested if you have this cancer. If it hasn’t spread to other parts of the body then it is possible to be cured and live a normal life.