A stuffy or hard-to-hear nose is a sign of a silent killer

IF you are struggling with a stuffy nose your first thought might be the common cold, or even Covid-19.

During the colder months, it’s easy to mistake symptoms like these for many of the bugs circulating, but experts have warned that they could in fact be a sign of a silent killer.

Trouble with a stuffy nose could actually be a sign of something more serious than the common winter cold


Trouble with a stuffy nose could actually be a sign of something more serious than the common winter coldCredit: Getty

Nasal cancer, also known as nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) – affects the nasopharynx.

This is the upper part of the pharynx (throat) behind the nose.

In the UK, around 260 people are diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer each year, the NHS says.

Most people with cancer won’t realize symptoms until it’s at a later stage.

It’s different from nasal or sinus cancer, which is a rare type of cancer that affects the space behind your nose and sinuses — the small air-filled cavities inside your nose, cheekbones, and forehead.

Experts have said that NPCs can masquerade as a blocked nose.

That’s the kind of feeling you get when you try and blow your nose with a tissue, but the discomfort doesn’t go away.

If you’ve been going through this for a few months, experts say this could be the main sign of NPC.

Dr Lim Keng Hua, an otolaryngologist and ENT specialist, explains that cancer often arises from a groove called Rosenmuller’s fossa, which is located on the side of the nasopharynx.

He explains that there are other accompanying signs of cancer that can be confused with an infection.

Patients with nasal cancer may also experience a painless lump on one side of the neck, as well as other symptoms such as a blocked ear.

Other common symptoms include blood in saliva or phlegm, nosebleeds or headaches, and frequent earaches.

Patients may also experience changes in hearing or double vision.

Symptoms of nose cancer you need to know

The NHS says that most people won’t notice they have nose cancer until the disease is in the late stages.

The following is main sign you should be looking for:

  • a lump in the neck that doesn’t go away after 3 weeks
  • hearing loss – usually in one ear
  • stuffy or stuffy nose
  • Tinnitus
  • nosebleed
  • stuffy or stuffy nose
  • headache
  • double vision
  • numbness in the lower part of your face
  • swallowing problem
  • raucous
  • unintentional weight loss

Who is most at risk?

Dr Keng Hua said there are several genetic factors that can make you more susceptible to nose cancer. CNA Lifestyle.

He says that in general, men are two to three times more likely to develop NPC than women.

He explains that women may be somewhat protected from NPCs due to their higher estrogen levels.

“Others suggest it may be due to smoking as the habit is more common among men. However, there is no convincing evidence,” he added.

Having a family history of NPCs is also another factor, with those of Southern Chinese heritage being more at risk, he said.

“More than 70% of cases occur in East and Southeast Asia. Therefore, for Singaporeans, dialect groups migrating from the Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien and Hainan regions have a higher prevalence of NPC.” they explain. A stuffy or hard-to-hear nose is a sign of a silent killer

Emma Bowman

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