Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Ipoh Echo recently talked to Dr Luis Chen Shian Liang, Resident Consultant ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), Head and Neck Surgeon of KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital about nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), also known as nose cancer. ENT doctors focus on the management of disorders and diseases of the ear, nose, throat, parts of the head and neck. ENT doctors can also be referred to as otolaryngologists.

Dr Luis commenced his practice in May 2006. Initially, he was attached to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh later to Sarawak Hospital as Medical Officer. He has served as Senior House Officer in City General Hospital Carlisle, United Kingdom and Specialist Registrar in North Riding Infirmary, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom. He is also an International Fellow of American Academy of Otolaryngology since 2001.

According to Dr Luis, NPC is a disease that has a very high incidence in the Chinese population. The highest incidence is found in those who originate from the Southern Chinese provinces, especially Guang Dong Province. To a much lesser extent, Malays are also at risk and the incidence is lowest in Indians.


A virus called the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which causes glandular fever, is one of the risk factor for nasopharyngeal cancer. Some factors have been observed to be strongly associated with the development and progress of the disease, such as certain genetic types and consumption of preserved food which might contain carcinogen.


People with nose cancer may have symptoms such as a lump in the neck (due to the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes in the neck), nosebleeds and Tinnitus/ hearing loss (usually only in one ear).


Tests and procedures used to diagnose nose cancer include: A biopsy to diagnose all head and neck cancers and scope which is a tube with a light and camera attached to be inserted into mouth and throat. The scoped area would then be projected on a screen.

Treatments for nose cancer include:

Cancer patients will be required to undergo radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy treatment.


The best way of preventing nose cancer is to make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits, green vegetables and other sources of vitamin C to lower the risk. Avoid taking excessive amounts of preserved food. Early detection also equally important to ensure better prognosis/outcome.

For more information, call Dr Luis Chen Shian Liang of KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital at 05 240 8777 (ext: 8511) or 012 553 2856.


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