Friday 28 September 2012


We need to be aware of this less well-known cancer which is easily treatable if detected early.

Despite it being the third and eighth most common form of cancer among Malaysian men and women respectively, not many people are aware of this type of nose cancer as they are of breast, lung or colon cancer.

Do you have blocked nose, blood-stained nasal discharge, blocked feeling in the ear, ringing in the ear or a painless swelling at your neck?

Please consult an ENT specialist as Malaysia has one of the world’s highest incidence of Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC).

The main problem with NPC is that it occurs in a hidden part of our body, which is behind the nose. Unlike breast or skin cancer which can be detected relatively early, NPC is usually detected late because not many are aware of the condition and also because of its location deep within the skull.

Most NPC cases (more than 70%) are therefore detected late when the disease is advanced and not amenable to treatment.

So awareness of this relatively less well-known cancer is important. When you have such symptoms, please go for a check-up with an ENT specialist as soon as possible.

While its exact causes are uncertain, NPC is thought to be linked to the consumption of preserved foods such as salted fish and vegetables containing carcinogenic nitrosamines. Other factors include a genetic link and possibly the Epstein-Barr (EBV) virus.

Next time, when you order clay pot chicken, tell them to spare the salted fish topping, no matter how well it enhances the flavour.

The moral of the story is: We can't choose our parents (genes) but we can make wise choices when it comes to food. So why eat processed/preserved food when you can have it fresh? 


  1. This link is useful.
    It can be found in Ewe Jin is an NPC survivor.

  2. Dear Ewe Jin,

    I am sure many would like to know about this condition first-hand from a survivor -- what you had to go through and how you coped with it.

    Thanks for sharing the link to your blog:

    This story will surely benefit a much wider community.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It's worth belabouring the point.

    If you have any of the symptoms mentioned earlier related to the NOSE or EAR, please do NOT dismiss them as something trivial. For your own sake, please consult an ENT doctor. Sometimes, those with NPC may have blood dripping down their throat from the back of the nose (“post-nasal drip”). On spitting, blood-stained saliva may be observed. Early detection means a very high chance of a cure